Relative calm returns to Somali town after death of 45: UN

Relative calm has returned to central Somali town of Galkayo but tension remains high after sporadic fighting between two rival regional states claimed lives of 45 people after five weeks of fighting, the UN humanitarian agency said on Friday.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said heavy fighting between Galmudug and Puntland forces on Nov. 6 left 22 people dead and 97 others injured; on Nov. 8, one civilian was reported killed following an exchange of fire despite a peace deal brokered by United Arab Emirates on Nov. 1.

“Health officials estimated that 45 people have been killed and 162 injured since Oct. 7. Civilians make up for 25 percent of the casualties,” OCHA said in a statement received in Mogadishu.

“The warring parties continue to maintain their defensive positions. Humanitarian partners estimate that nearly 90,000 people remain displaced due to increased tensions and the recurrent clashes between forces allied to Galmudug and Puntland administrations,” OCHA said.

The UN agency said the disruption to schooling has affected over 20,000 learners for the fifth week as well as all the internally displaced persons (IDPs) settlements in eight locations in north Galkayo and 13 in south Gaalkyco remain vacated.

Galkayo has been plagued by recurrent clashes between the two neighboring federal states forces who are fighting for control.

Clashes have continued despite a cease-fire agreement signed in Abu Dhabi by Galmudug and Puntland administrations where the two leaders reportedly ordered their commanders to cease fire.

The two parties are scheduled to hold further talks to implement the agreement on Nov. 20. Settlements for internally displaced people (IDPs) in south Galkayo hosting nearly 20,000 people have been deserted

According to OCHA, the conflict has disrupted the livelihoods of people who were already displaced and vulnerable, with most of the displaced people fleeing to distant villages and struggling to get to continue their livelihoods.