(Xinhua) -- Somalia’s rival states of
Puntland and Galmudug have renewed their commitment to peace by
signing a ceasefire deal on Monday aimed at ending protracted
clashes in the central town of Galkayo.
The deal was
signed in the Somali capital Mogadishu between President
Abdiweli Mohamed Ali of Puntland and President Abdikarim Hussein
Guled of Galmudug.
Clashes between forces of the rival states, which first broke
out in October, has killed more than 45 people including
civilians and displaced over 90,000.
By signing the deal, the state presidents agreed to cease
hostilities by withdrawing forces from the disputed town and to
build confidence between the two state administrations.
They also agreed on the removal of all roadblocks installed
by both states and the opening of roads to allow free movement
of people and goods.
Galkayo is currently divided into two districts, with
Galmudug governing the south and Puntland the north.
The regional leaders agreed in the deal to implement joint
training of police from both north and south Galkayo to
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud appealed to both
leaders to immediately implement the agreement with full
commitment to ending violence in Galkayo.
The UN Assistance Mission in Somalia has welcomed the move.
"This renewed commitment to peace and confidence building in
Galkayo is a critical step to allow a process to resolve
underlying issues that are causing the conflict and to build
lasting peace," said Michael Keating, Special Representative of
the UN Secretary-General in Somalia.
The regional leaders also agreed to meet in Galkayo later
this month to support the implementation of these commitments.
Galkayo has been plagued by recurrent clashes between the
neighboring federal states over its control.
Clashes have continued in the past months despite a Nov. 1
ceasefire agreement signed by the regional leaders.
At least two killed in
twin blasts near Somalia’s African Union base
MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) --
At least two people were killed and
several others injured in twin blasts by extremist group Al-Shabaab
near the base of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)
and a luxury hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Monday.
Mohamed Jama, a police officer at the scene, told Xinhua the
first explosion went off near a checkpoint manned by soldiers
next to the entrance of the Halane base, which hosts both UN and
AU personnel and is close to the airport.
"The first bomb-laden car exploded at a checkpoint near
Halane military base and shortly after a truck blew up next to
heavily-guarded Peace Hotel," Jama said, adding two people have
been confirmed dead.
Located near the Halane base, Peace Hotel is frequented by
diplomats and government officials.
Heads of state and government from the East African bloc IGAD
held a day-long meeting at the hotel in 2016.
AMISOM spokesman Joe Kibet told Xinhua that a suicide car
bomb was detonated at the checkpoint, while AU troops later
destroyed another approaching explosive-laden car some 200
meters from the base.
"There were no AMISOM casualties but civilian casualties must
have been registered," Kibet said.
Eyewitnesses said at least four people were killed in the two
Local resident Nasteho Ibrahim, who lives near the scene of
the explosions, told Xinhua the blasts were huge.
"The blasts were very heavy and we could feel the impact from
our houses shaking," said Ibrahim.
The Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the explosions.
The group has carried out frequent attacks in Somalia in its
decade-long fight against the government.