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International partners urges calm amid tension in northeast Somalia

Somalia soldiers
Somalia soldiers

International partners on Tuesday appealed for calm and restraint in Garowe, the capital of Puntland State, northeast Somalia, where there is a risk of higher tension due to the mobilization of forces in the area.

The partners, including the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), the European Union and the United Nations, said the presence of these forces is intimidating civilians and has led to the closure of schools.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and are calling for the immediate de-escalation of tensions and urgent talks by political and other local leaders,” the international partners said in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

Heavily armed forces began to build up on Nov. 19 amid a dispute between Puntland’s leader Said Abdullahi Deni and the Opposition over amendments to the constitution.

The opposition groups accused Deni of deploying additional military troops in Garowe and seeking constitutional amendments to extend his term in office beyond January 2024.

The tension has forced many families to flee their homes and several schools to close doors as a result of the build-up.

The debate on the constitutional changes, which was due in Parliament Monday, was reportedly postponed due to the tension in the town.

The international partners said there is no justification for violence or the threat of force, noting that grievances should be addressed peacefully and through dialogue. “We call on all parties to resolve their differences through peaceful means,” the partners said and expressed commitment to supporting Somalia and the Somali people in building the foundation for a peaceful and prosperous society.

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