Saturday, October 15, 2016

Somalia - Clashes between Puntland and Galmudug kill 11, displace 50,000 others

MOGADISHU, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- Renewed fighting between regional forces from Galmudug and Puntland in the central Somali Galkayo town have killed at least 11 people and displaced 50,000 others, the UN humanitarian agency said on Saturday.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said local authorities have indicated that the number could be higher as more people continue to flee the violence in the two semi-autonomous regions of Somalia.

"Humanitarian partners operating in Galkayo are estimating that 60 percent of the displaced are IDPs facing secondary displacements, raising protection concerns and raising vulnerability," the OCHA said in a report.

Fresh clashes broke out in Galkayo on Oct. 7 and a peace agreement reached by clan elders and the business community two days later failed to hold and fighting erupted less than 24 hours after it was signed.

The interim peace agreement had called for immediate cessation of hostilities; an immediate withdrawal of armed personnel from the area of contention; and discussions on peaceful resolutions of the issue to continue.

A technical committee established to facilitate further negotiations between the two sides to address the root causes of the conflict is yet to make progress.

"The armed violence has exacerbated an already fragile humanitarian situation in Galkayo and its surrounding areas, especially for IDPs who continue to live in deplorable conditions and makeshift structures," it said.

The UN said the majority of civilians from south Galkayo have fled to parts of south Mudug and Galgaduud, while those from north Galkayo fled to locations of north Mudug and Nugaal.

"All schools in Galkayo remain closed with over 20,000 learners affected. Commercial activities are also impacted, leading to the disruption of livelihood activities especially for the IDPs, the poor and most vulnerable who are dependent on informal trade and manual labour," the UN said.

It said tensions have led to constraints on the humanitarian activities in the town due to staff safety and security concerns.

According to the OCHA, the flow of commercial and humanitarian supplies and services between Galgaduud and Mudug regions has been disrupted. Galkayo provides the access network to central regions such as Hiraan, Galgaduud and South Mudug for commodities from the port of Bossaso.

"Agricultural products and livestock from southern and central Somalia also pass through Gaalkacyo serving northern towns," the UN said