At least 16 killed in renewed fighting in Somalia
At least 16 people have been killed and more than 20 others injured in renewed fighting since Thursday in northern Somali town of Galkayo between forces loyal to the rival states of Galmudug and Puntland, APA reports quoting Xinhua.
Some 15 people were killed when fighting broke out on Thursday between security officers of the two rival regional states while a businessman was killed on Friday in the battle that also left a member of Galmudug State Parliament injured after gunmen opened fire on him.
Somali interior minister Abdirahman Odowa said they were making frantic efforts to find a lasting solution to the deadly conflict which broke out again on Thursday, a day after the signing of the ceasefire pact.
“We cannot say that the peace agreement between Puntland and Galmudug States failed, Somali Prime Minister is here in Galkayo. He will not leave until peace is maintained. The two leaders are meeting to end the crisis and implement what has been agreed,” Odowa said in Galkayo.
Reports say Galkayo was a near ghost town with few people in the vicinity and little activity going on. Some 40,000 people have been forced to flee their homes since the conflict erupted two weeks ago.
The international community has condemned the renewed outbreak of hostilities in Galkayo.
In a joint press statement , UN, EU, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the U.S. called on all parties to immediately cease fire and reopen talks to find a lasting and peaceful solution to the underlying issues dividing them.
“We have confirmed reports of heavy fighting that broke out in Galkayo on Thursday and escalated, at a time when the two parties were to begin the disengagement of their forces from the frontlines,” they said in the statement released in Mogadishu Friday.
“We encourage the parties and the government of Somalia to explore the possibility of deploying impartial observers to ensure compliance with the agreed ceasefire and identify spoilers who seek to undermine agreements like the one signed in Galkayo on Wednesday,” it added.
The two warring sides clashed two weeks ago in Galkayo city of Mudug region, which is controlled by the two administrations, Galmudug in the southern parts and Puntland in the northern parts.