Somalia Week in Focus: Top Stories (Jan. 6, 2017)

 Week ending January 6, 2017 

Puntland and Galmudug sign Galkayo peace accord

Leaders in Somalia’s Puntland and Galmudug regional administrations signed a new agreement on Jan. 1 in Mogadishu, after days of talks mediated by federal leaders with international observers, including UN Special Envoy to Somali Michael Keating.

It was the third agreement between the warring parties. In October 2016, one-month of armed hostilities erupted between Puntland and Galmudug forces in the eastern outskirts of Galkayo, a city in central Somalia that straddles the boundary of the two regional states.

Aid agencies reported that upwards of 75,000 people fled the Galkayo fighting.

The fighting subsided by mid-November after Puntland and Galmudug leaders, Abdiweli Gaas and Abdikarim Hussein Guled, respectively, signed a ceasefire agreement in Galkayo, mediated by Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmake.

A prior agreement, signed by the two leaders in Abu Dhabi, UAE, a week earlier collapsed and fighting resumed in Galkayo.

EU salary dispute, Burundi threatens Somalia peacekeepers pullout

Last week, Burundian President Pierra Nkurunziza threatened to pull out Burundian peacekeepers serving as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Burundi contributes about 5,400 troops to the Somalia peacekeeping mission, which has been deployed in Somalia since 2007.

The European Union, a major donor to AMISOM, has delayed salary payments to Burundian peacekeepers over concerns of mismanagement by President Nkurunziza’s administration.

Burundi’s dispute with the EU over unpaid salaries has dragged for months, coming to surface in mid-2016 after the EU criticized the Burundian leader’s plans to run for a controversial third term in office, a move that has since plagued Burundi with political violence and civil unrest including the killing of Burundi’s environment minister last week.

Burundian troops constitute the second-largest AMISOM contingent after Uganda.

Two bombings rock Mogadishu

A car bombing on Jan. 4 targeted a United Nations convoy in Mogadishu, wounding four guards.

Two days earlier, a suicide bomber detonated explosives at a checkpoint near Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport. At least three persons were killed in the blast, AP reported.

The bombing occurred at a checkpoint close to UN offices, Peace Hotel and AMISOM’s main compound at the airport.

The powerful bomb “blew roofs off nearby buildings” and AMISOM officers said they “engaged” a second car, which blew up 200 meters from another checkpoint.

Mogadishu has been the scene of grisly violence, terrorism and guerilla attacks since Jan. 2007. Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Shabaab insurgent group claims responsibility for most attacks, including last week’s two bombings in Mogadishu.

The violence occurs as Somalia prepares to finalize its 2016 electoral process in the coming weeks. The election is expected to take place in Mogadishu.

Somalia needs $864million for urgent aid

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has announced that the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Somalia seeks US$864million in urgent aid for Somalia.

A UN report published in 2016 noted that some 5 million people are in need of food aid, accounting for approximately 40% of the country’s population.

However, for the 2017 HRP, the UN is seeking urgent aid for 3.9million Somalis by the end of 2017.

UN agencies are focused on providing protection for vulnerable communities, displaced families, and refugees by strengthening resilience and supporting basic services.

Aid agencies are concerned that funding shortfall might worsen humanitarian conditions in Somalia. In 2015, the UN requested US$863million but received US$534million, a funding shortfall that affected the lives of millions in Somalia.

Source: Somali Review