Tuesday October 26, 2021
Dhusamareb (HOL) The President of Galmudug state has blamed Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a (ASWJ) for the deadly fighting that has broken out in Guriel over the weekend.
During a video address on Tuesday, Ahmed Abdi Kariye "Qoorqoor" offered his condolences to the families of the casualties but said that the Sufi paramilitary group bore full responsibility for the outbreak of violence.
The video statement marked the first time Qoorqoor spoke publicly since clashes broke out on Friday.
The Galmudug President defended the move to deploy a military offensive against Ahlu Sunna Waljaama, noting all diplomatic options were exhausted before the decisive action. Qoorqoor said his government reached out to ASWJ as it squatted in Guriel for 22 days for talks but was forced to send the military to Guriel.
The Galmudug leader also pointed blamed unnamed 'foreign actors for fueling the conflict. He threatened to unmask the alleged culprits if they didn't stop the incitement.
Qoorqoor also said he was forming an inter-ministerial committee to mobilize aid for the over 100,000 people displaced by the conflict and also urged medical personnel to treat all those who need medical help from both sides.
His remarks follow a claim by Ahlu Sunna that 120 people were killed in the four days of fighting.
Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a also commented publicly on Tuesday about the conflict in Guriel and announced that it welcomes calls for peace to end hostilities.
"ASWJ welcomes the calls for peace in Somalia from the Council of Presidential Candidates, intellectuals, politicians and Sufi religious scholars."
The group said that it recognized the Galmudug government.
In a press release, Ahlu Sunna accused AMISOM forces of destroying the town and said it had provided illegal weapons to Somali government forces.
"ASWJ regrets that AMISOM peacekeepers were involved in destroying hospitals and aid facilities in Guriel district. We also regret that AMISON was transferring illegal weapons to the Federal Government of Somalia."
ASWJ called on the international community and aid agencies to respond immediately to the humanitarian crisis in Guriel.
Adam Abdelmoula, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, said he was concerned about civilians' well-being amidst the hostilities. He condemned the targeting of hospitals during the conflict and urged the belligerents to exercise restraint.
"All parties have obligations under international humanitarian law; the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality in the use of force must be adhered to, including protection of civilians and treatment of wounded hors de combat. I urge them to uphold these obligations."
Residents said the situation in the Guriel was calm but tense on Tuesday morning as Galmudug and federal forces held control of the town. There was no reported fighting, but many remain worried that it could flare up at any moment.