Int’l community calls for ceasefire in central Somali town

MOGADISHU, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) — The international community on Friday expressed concern about the renewed fighting between forces from Galmudug and Puntland states in the central Somali town of Galkayo, which has killed at least five people.
In a joint statement issued in Mogadishu, the United Nations, African Union, EU, United States and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said urgent steps are needed now to de-escalate tensions and facilitate local conflict resolution.

“We call on the leaders of Puntland and Galmudug to use their influence to end the fighting immediately and observe the ceasefire agreement that was brokered by local clan elders and religious leaders on Oct. 9,” Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia Michael Keating said in the statement.

Keating said the governments of these two federal member states should exercise restraint and withdraw their respective security forces from Galkayo and environs as a mutual confidence-building measure.

The two regional states have previously clashed leading to deaths, displacement of populations and destruction of property. Hundreds of civilians have already been displaced by the violence.

According to local reports, some 40 people were killed last year in a deadly clash between the two regions whose enmity renewed in 2014 following the formation of Galmudug state.

International partners welcomed the commendable efforts of local elders, clerics and other community leaders to stop the violence, and expressed their readiness to support all initiatives aimed at reducing tensions between the warring parties.

In December 2015, leaders from the two states signed an agreement that committed their governments to refrain from actions that could exacerbate the conflict after an outbreak of fighting in late November last year.

Under the agreement, the parties agreed to make a recently negotiated ceasefire permanent, establish a Joint Committee consisting of representatives of both federal member states to resolve differences peacefully, withdraw their forces from areas where clashes had occurred, and allow displaced civilians to return to their homes.

However, some key aspects of the agreement have not been implemented.

The UN, AU, EU, Somalia and the IGAD have formed a task force to engage with all relevant parties, facilitate an immediate end to the ongoing fighting, support the full implementation of the 2015 Agreement and help the parties to find a lasting solution to their recurring disputes.

Source: XINHUA


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