Somalia calls for calm in northern region

MOGADISHU, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) — The Somali government on Wednesday called on Somaliland and Puntland regional states to stop escalating tension in the northern Sool region.

The government said in a statement that it is committed to continuing reconciliation among the fighting sides in the region and across the country to help restore peace and stability.

“The federal government’s intension is to stop the fight. It calls for Somaliland, Puntland local officials, community leaders, and scholars to stop the conflict, and work with the government in fostering peace and integrating brotherly people,” it said.

The government called on both sides to swiftly and unconditionally bring to an end to the looming conflict and solve their differences through dialogue and reconciliation.

The government expressed concern about the fresh armed conflict at Tukaraq area this week and urged the two sides to stop the battle unconditionally and come to negotiating table.

Tension has been rising since Monday in the disputed Takaraq location in Sool region, about 90 km from Garowe town as both sides amass troops ready for combat in the Puntland administrative capital.

Puntland authorities have blamed the break-away region of Somaliland for launching offensive in Takaraq to prevent visit by Somalia president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo to the region.

The Somalia government described the current conflict in the region as unfortunate, saying such fighting would only give opportunity to the enemies of peace.

The statement comes after military forces from Somaliland Monday took control of a town under the semi autonomous region of Puntland following a fierce fighting.

Puntland State President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali condemned Somaliland for launching offensive on its territory.

“Puntland State is fighting Al-Shabaab and IS militants and the attack from Somaliland Administration gives shelter and support to the terrorist groups in the region,” Ali said on Tuesday evening.

Both Puntland and Somaliland have been in contest over Sool and Sanag regions with each side claiming control.

Puntland parliament threatened force in November 2017 against Somaliland if elections took place in Sool during the presidential poll. The polls, however, went on uninterrupted in most areas of Sool.

XINHUA

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