AMISOM Denies Involvement in Deadly Fighting in Central Somalia

African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers travel on armoured vehicle as they leave the Jaale Siad Military academy after being replaced by the Somali military in Mogadishu, Somalia. February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia on Thursday denied allegations that its forces extended support to the Somali government and Galmudug forces, who had been battling Ahlu Sunnah fighters in the town of Guriel.

The allegations are “false, toxic and malicious”, with an intention to cause disaffection between AMISOM and the Somali communities, the AU peacekeeping mission said.

It comes after Ahlu Sunnah group claimed that the AU peacekeepers had assisted the Somali army in an offensive that has forced the rebel group’s fighters to vacate their positions in the town after a four-day long battle.

AMISOM operations, including military operations and support to SSF, are guided by the mandate provided by the AU Peace and Security Council and UN Security Council. They are implemented in strict observance of the approved Concept of Operations and Rules of Engagement,” AMISOM said in a statement.

In fulfilment of this mandate, AMISOM reinforced its forces in Dhusamareb for the purpose of securing the on-going electoral process as part of the National Elections Security Taskforce Strategy. These AMISOM forces operate under very strict instructions. They have not provided support to the government of Somalia at either national or regional level to fight Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a, nor have they, in any way, been involved in the bloody confrontations between the government and Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a in Guriel town or elsewhere.”

AMISOM stressed that it had consistently urged both sides to stop the fight and end their dispute through dialogue.

Puntland denies involvement in Guriel concflict

Puntland-governor of Mudug region Abdiladif Muse Sanyare denied reports indicating that the regional state had been involved in the fighting in the town of Guriel in Galmudug region and had provided support to Ahlu Sunnah fighters, who had been fighting government troops in the town.

The northeastern region has nothing to do with the conflict in Guriel and often pays major efforts in peaceful cohabitation between residents of the neighboring regions, he told a press conference in Galkayo on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the president of Galmudug region Ahmed Qoorqoor blamed foreign and local parties for the bitter clashes in Guriel, which have claimed the lives of more than 130 people. Over 100,000 people were displaced by the conflict, the United Nations said.

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