UN urges parties involved in fighting in central Somalia town to defuse tension

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Photo taken on Sept. 14, 2020 shows the United Nations (UN) flag flying outside the UN headquarters in New York, the United States. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
Photo taken on Sept. 14, 2020 shows the United Nations (UN) flag flying outside the UN headquarters in New York, the United States. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

The United Nations humanitarian chief in Somalia on Monday called on parties in a conflict in the country’s central town of Guriel to stop fighting.

Adam Abdelmoula, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia also condemned the actions that reportedly led to two hospitals being hit, caused significant damage and cut off lifesaving health services.

“All parties have obligations under international humanitarian law; the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality in the use of force must be adhered to, including protection of civilians and treatment of wounded hors de combat. I urge them to uphold these obligations,” Abdelmoula said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

Fierce fighting erupted in the central Somali town of Guriel in Galmudug state on Saturday between the regional forces backed by Somali National Army and Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a, a moderate Islamic group, leaving at least 20 people dead and more than 60 others injured.

The situation has forced more than 100,000 people, many of whom are women and children, to flee their homes and seek shelter in nearby villages which are affected by drought conditions and water shortages.

Abdelmoula said the displaced are in urgent need of humanitarian and protection assistance, but the effort to scaling up response is impeded by access and funding challenges.

The UN official called on the humanitarian actors to expedite emergency assistance and to work with authorities toward durable solutions.

“Parties to the conflict must ensure that humanitarian workers have unfettered access to all people in need of assistance,” he said. Enditem

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