Somali president calls for immediate ceasefire in Tukaraq

MOGADISHU, Somalia – The President of Federal Republic of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities between Somaliland and Puntland forces in Tukaraq area in north of Somalia’s Sool region.

In statement, president Farmajo urged on warring parties to resolve their differences through dialogue.

President Farmajo called on both Puntland and Somaliland to cease hostilities especially during the Holy month of Ramadan.

“The hostility is senseless and must stop forthwith and everything should be resolved through negotiation. We prepare to enter the holy month of Ramadan,” he said.

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Michael Keating urged both Somaliland and Puntland leaders to engage in dialogue to work towards a ceasefire and political agreement.

The demands came when heavily armed forces from Somaliland launched an ambush attack on bases manned by Puntland troops in Tukaraq area.

Tuesday’s fighting killed at least 50 people including soldiers and children as 100 others were also injured, according to local residents.

Tension has been building up in the area, as both Somaliland and Puntland soldiers with battle-wagons reached at the area, a local villager, who asked to be anonymous said.

The latest clashes came days after UN’s envoy for Somalia, Michael Keating visited Hargeisa and Garowe towns and met with Somaliland and Puntland leaders to de-escalate the tension and avert bloodshed in Tukaraq town.

Mr. Keating urged Somaliland president Muse Bihi to withdraw its troops from Tukaraq, in a bid to return calmness in the town.

However, Puntland and Somaliland fought sporadic battles since 2002 over the control of disputed regions in northern Somalia.

Reporting by Abdirisak Mohamud Tuuryare from Mogadishu, Somalia