UN expresses concern over Galkayo conflict
The United Nations has raised concern over the recent clashes in Somalia. The world body fears the hostile situation might escalate after at least 11 people were reportedly killed and around 50,000 displaced this week.
According to local media reports, on Thursday (13 October) heavy fighting broke out in Galkayo city, which is the administrative capital of Mudug region, between forces loyal to semi-autonomous regions of Puntland and Galmudug. The rebel groups are said to fighting for the hegemony of territories.
Reports said that both the forces were thought to have used heavy weapons and anti-aircraft guns. “The armed violence has exacerbated an already fragile humanitarian situation … especially for IDPs (internally displaced people) who continue to live in deplorable conditions and makeshift structures,” the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement.
Citing the UN statement Reuters reported that 11 people were found dead in the clashes. Hirsi Yusuf Barre, the mayor of Galkayo south, said Thursday’s clashes killed three from Galmudug militia and injured five.
Galkayo city – reported to be divided between militias loyal to different regions – saw clashes when militias from the northern part of the town, who are allied with Puntland were reportedly planning to build a livestock market in the south part of the town. The south is thought to be backing the Galmudug region militias, Barre said.
“Puntland wants to build in parts of our south Galkayo by force and that is an aggression we will not accept.” “Puntland tanks started shelling us yesterday and we had to respond,” he was quoted by Reuters on Friday (14 October).
Clashes between the two regional militias were reported to have intensified lately, with Galkayo resident being the most affected in the sporadic confrontation. The clan-based militias fighting are reportedly common in Somalia’s 25 years of civil war.
The civil war is thought to have also provided fertile ground for the birth of the Islamist insurgents in the country. The UN-backed government is battling the al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabab militants group, which is aiming to topple the government and impose its own form of Islamic rule in Somalia.