UN calls for ceasefire amid fighting in northern Somalia

A fence displays the United Nations (UN) logo outside its headquarters in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 22. 2020. Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The United Nations’ top relief envoy in Somalia on Friday called for a ceasefire in Bossaso, a commercial port city in northeast Somalia, following three days of intense fighting between rival security forces.

Adam Abdelmoula, the humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, expressed concern about the impact of ongoing hostilities in Bossaso of Puntland State on civilians.

“I urge all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law and to ensure unfettered access for humanitarian workers to all people in need of assistance,” Abdelmoula said in a statement issued in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

He said more than half of Bossaso city’s population have reportedly been displaced from their homes because of fighting between the United States-trained anti-terror unit, Puntland Security Forces (PSF) and the region’s regular security forces loyal to Puntland President Saed Abdullahi Deni.

According to humanitarian partners and local authorities, some 40 percent of 70,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) hosted in Bossaso town are also reported to have experienced secondary displacement.

The UN official said the closure of shops has limited the possibility of vulnerable people, including IDPs and drought-affected communities, to redeem their vouchers for basic supplies.

“I am further concerned that fighting has negatively affected the ability of humanitarian partners to reach the displaced people who are in urgent need of humanitarian and protection assistance,” said Abdelmoula.

The clashes which began Tuesday have been roundly condemned by Somali leaders including President Mohamed Farmajo.