Ethiopian troops supporting the shaky U.N.-backed transitional government come under daily attack by Islamic insurgents, who receive support from Ethiopia's archenemy Eritrea.
In an unrelated incident, inter-clan fighting in western Somalia killed at least 12 people and wounded at least 15 others during a land dispute, residents said Sunday.
Osman Enow, a resident in the town of Luq, said a dozen people had been killed when fighting broke out on Saturday night and that the wounded were being treated under trees because there were no hospitals in the area.
Mohamed Abdi Kalil, the deputy governor of Gedo region, where Luq is located, said," The clash was triggered by a land dispute, but the ensuing escalation of violence was attributed to a long-simmering rivalry between the clans."
"We are planning to send a group of elders from both warring sides to iron out the differences," he added.
Disputes over land, water and pasture rights are common in Somalia, which has not had a functioning government since 1991. The current shaky administration is battling an Islamist insurgency, whose six-month hold on the capital and much of the south was smashed when Ethiopian forces arrived in December 2006 at the invitation of the Somali president.
The conflict in the impoverished country is complicated by clan rivalry and other countries using internal Somali forces as proxy militias.