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Rival Somalia regions agree to bury the hatchet

By AFP

Added 14th November 2016 07:55 AM

Saturday's meeting was led by Somalia's prime minister, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke

Saturday's meeting was led by Somalia's prime minister, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke

The leaders of two neighbouring Somali regions have agreed to respect a ceasefire whose repeated violations have claimed some 45 lives in recent weeks, the UN said on Sunday.

President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali of Puntland and Abdilkarim Hussein Guled, his counterpart in Galmudug, met on Saturday in the central Somalia town of Galkayo -- scene of the latest clashes -- "to re-commit to a (December 2015) ceasefire in the disputed city", UNSOM, the UN mission in Somalia, said in a statement.

The ceasefire was designed to end frequent clashes between rival clans and armed groups but never entered into effect.

Fighting broke out again in September, killing at least 45 over the past six weeks and prompting some 90,000 civilians to flee their homes, according to UNSOM.

"The renewed commitment made in Abu Dhabi on 1 November to a ceasefire, to support the return of displaced people and establish a committee to find a solution to the conflict has not been honoured," the statement said.

Saturday's meeting was led by Somalia's prime minister, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke. UN, EU and African Union officials were present.

Tension between Puntland and Galmudug, which are semi-autonomous entities, flared in September after Galmudug said 13 of its troops had been killed in a US airstrike targeting Islamist fighters in the Shabaab group after Puntland -- according to Galmudug -- gave the Americans wrong intelligence.

Clashes have since broken out in Galkayo, where rival clans vie for control.

Puntland has accused Galmudug of attacking its forces in revenge for the US air strike. Galmudug says the fighting arose from a territorial dispute.

In late September, the US military's Africa Command (AFRICOM) said it had mounted an attack in self defence near Galkayo after Shebaab fighters attacked Somali government forces and their US advisors.

AFRICOM said nine "enemy combatants" had been killed.

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