5 November 2016 (MCRS) Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and the UN envoy in Somalia Michael Keating have welcomed a ceasefire reached between forces of the country’s Puntland and Galmudug states. The rival forces clashed in the central city of Galkayo last month, killing more than 20 people, including civilians, and forcing displacement over 80,000. In a statement received in Mogadishu on Friday, Keating termed the deal reached in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), between President of Puntland Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas and President of Galmudug Abdikarim Hussein Guled “a positive step”. “The ball is now in the court of Presidents Gaas and Guled to deliver on unfulfilled promises and to act in the best interests of the people of Galmudug and Puntland,” Keating said. Signing the agreement, the two state leaders committed to refraining from violence incitement, to supporting the return of displaced people to their homes, and to appointing a joint committee to find lasting solutions to avoid conflict.
The two reached an agreement on avoiding fighting in December 2015, but the deal has never been implemented. Keating commended the role of the UAE in facilitating the new agreement and urged the two state leaders to take immediate action to ensure its implementation. The envoy also stressed the “indispensable role” of community leaders and the business sector in Galkayo in finding a peaceful solution to the clashes. Galkayo is currently divided into two districts, with Galmudug governing the southern district and Puntland state the northern one. On his part, President Mohamud appealed to both leaders of Puntland and Galmudug to immediately implement the agreement with full commitment to ending violence in Galkayo. He said in a statement that his government was ready to assist the two states so that the agreement could be immediately implemented.