MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – President of central Somalia’s Galmudug state Ahmed Qoorqoor is hell-bent on launching an offensive against Ahlu Sunnah group while ignoring the fight against Al-Shabaab in an attempt to undermine elections, former regional security minister Ahmed Moalim Fiqi said on Sunday.
Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a fighters took over the towns of Guriel and Mataban in central Somalia early in October after government troops had withdrawn. But the government and regional authorities have since begun mobilizing for war and hundreds of troops were airlifted.
Fiqi said his resignation last week as the region’s security minister came after Qoorqoor had rebuffed his proposal to pursue a peaceful settlement of dispute with Ahlu Sunna, whose leaders expressed willingness to negotiate and end differences with regional government.
The former regional official alleges that Qoorqoor is preferring an offensive aimed at dislodging Sufi fighters from the region instead of fighting the Al-Qaeda-aligned militant group Al-Shabaab, whose forces are stationed just outside an airport in the region’s capital. The militant group had seized 17 military vehicles from regional troops during a recent attack and took control of two towns, he added.
He raised skepticism that Galmudug president is “in alliance with Al-Shabaab” or sympathetic towards the group and stressed that 1,000 soldiers had been airlifted in the town of Dhusamareb to participate in an offensive aimed to retake towns from Ahlu Sunnah.
Tensions in the region have forced residents in the town of Guriel to flee their homes last week after Sufi group’s fighters set up defense lines outside the town. An elder in the town told BBC Somali that a government offensive was imminent and said residents rallied behind the group, who enjoys popular support among locals in some of the towns in Galmudug state.
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