ADDIS ABABA – The African Union mission in Somalia (Amisom) denied it has supported government troops in recent fights with the Ahlu Sunna wal Jama’a Sufi militia in Galmudug State’s Guriel Town.
“Amisom has noted with deep concern, allegations that our forces were involved and extended support to the Somali Security Forces (SSF) in the fight,” the mission said in a statement on Saturday.
Ahlu Sunna had accused Amisom of siding with the Somali national army in the battle for the control of Guriel, in which at least 120 people were killed, according to media reports.
These allegations “are false, toxic and malicious, deliberately intended to cause disaffection between Amisom and the Somali communities”, said the AU mission.
Since the fighting broke out in Guriel, the AU mission said It has consistently appealed to the parties to cease fighting and seek to resolve their differences through dialogue.
“Amisom will continue this effort since it strongly believes that the problems facing Somali stakeholders in Galmudug are essentially political which must, and can, be solved through negotiated means,” it said.
The Mission reiterated that its forces are in Somalia to “fight terrorism, Al shabaab, Isis and their affiliates, not to turn their guns against Somali stakeholders engaged in political disputes with other Somali stakeholders”.
The recent clashes between the Somali National Army and Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a have forced more than 100,000 residents of Guriel Town to neighboring villages, according to the International Committee of Red Cross.
Featured Image Caption: Amisom denied taking sides after Ahlu Sunna accused the mission of siding with the Somali national army in the battle for the control of Guriel Town. [Photo File]