Int’l partners say clashes may derail electoral process, spur insurgency in Somalia

The international partners have called on parties to the conflict in the central town of Somalia to halt clashes which they said could derail the ongoing electoral process and increase insurgency.

The partners said the fighting in Guriel between the regional Galmudug State forces backed by Somali National Army (SNA) and a paramilitary group named Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a does not augur well for peace in the country.

The partners include the African Union, the European Union, and the United Nations,

“We urge that the parties to this conflict immediately halt the fighting and resolve their differences through negotiations.

“International partners are prepared to support such efforts if requested by the parties,” the partners said in a joint statement issued Tuesday evening.

It said that the continued fighting in the town of Guriel has left at least 30 people dead and more than 70 others injured.

The statement came amid reports that Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a, the moderate Islamic group, has agreed to lay down arms and has left Guriel town after mediation efforts by the business and community leaders, and government forces are now fully in control.

Sources said talks between the two warring groups are at an advanced stage and the militia has reportedly handed over two military vehicles seized during the fighting.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said Wednesday that two health facilities were severely damaged Sunday, cutting off lifesaving health services, adding that outreach and mobile health and nutrition teams have discontinued their operations in the town.

It said more than 100,000 people had been displaced to 28 nearby villages, as well as three new sites.

It noted that of those displaced, about 1,800 people have reportedly arrived in Mataban town in Hiraan region, where they are staying with relatives and friends, and are in need of food, shelter as well as water, and sanitation assistance.

Adam Abdelmoula, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, has urged all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations under International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

He stressed that parties to the conflict must ensure that humanitarian workers have unfettered access to all people in need of assistance. (Xinhua/NAN) 

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