MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia Intelligence Chief was designated to lead a phased de-escalation of tensions in Gedo region following a meeting between President Farmajo and the leader of Jubaland regional state that resulted in an initial agreement, officials said on Saturday.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Jubaland leader Ahmed Madobe raised the need for urgent des-escalation in the Gedo region, where the federal government has been building up forces in recent months to tighten grip on several strategic towns.
During a recent meeting with Somalia’s international partners at Mogadishu’s Adan Adde airport, Mr Madobe stipulated pulling out of federal government troops from Gedo region before his participation in resumed meeting held between President Farmajo and regional states leaders.
Somali Intelligence Chief Fahad Yasin has been designated to lead efforts aimed to des-escalate tensions in Gedo region, according to officials at the Presidential Palace.
Apart from de-escalating military activities in the region, President Farmajo and Ahmed Madobe agreed to resume talks aimed to reach consensus on key electoral aspects including election models – an issue that has long remained at the epicenter of dispute between the federal government and the regional states.
It’s so far unclear if the phased de-escalation as agreed by the Federal government and Jubaland leaders will be implemented accordingly, despite belligerent threats by pro-government officials in Gedo region adding tinder to a long-smoldering conflict.
The agreement comes amid the stay of Jubaland and Puntland leaders in the capital, Mogadishu – who have recently been holding meetings with key political stakeholders after they were hosted to US-mediated talks on Somalia’s upcoming elections.
Both regional states leaders earlier boycotted the outcome of Dhusamareb deal in which President Farmajo and leaders of three regional states agreed to hold timely elections and chose electoral caucuses, while proposing to increase the number of delegates that will be electing Somali MPs.
Somali analysts believe that neither side is as willing to compromise as the escalation in Gedo region spins out of control, raising the risks of more clashes, even if the two sides don’t want to go to war.
Over the past few weeks, Puntland and Jubaland leaders were accusing the incumbent leader of trying to wear down them by attrition as talks on elections failed to proceed as scheduled, but the venue is likely to be different now as their calls for the presence of international partners have been answered.
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