Somalia: Puntland Govt declares ceasefire in Bossaso after battle

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BOSSASO, Puntland - Fighting has reportedly stopped in Bosaso, the commercial capital of Puntland state, in what could now pave way for dialogue to end the standoff at PSF, which had been going on since last month after the dismissal of the security agency's director.

For the better part of Tuesday, forces loyal to former Puntland Security Forces [PSF] director Mohamed Osman Diano engaged in a gunfight with troops under the Puntland government that claimed the lives of several people and displacement. 

Reports from the seaside city indicate that fighting between the two parties has stopped on Wednesday night but the number of casualties still remains unknown. Hundreds of residents of the town flee to neighboring areas on Tuesday.

Prior to the ceasefire, efforts were underway to end the ongoing fighting in Bossaso. Last night, the President of Puntland Said Abdullahi Deni spoke by telephone with a number of civil society organizations and politicians, including former Presidents over the matter.

Sources say the talks between the Puntland government and the former PSF Director will begin in the coming hours and are expected to be mediated by some Puntland elders and religious leaders.

Deni left Baidoa on Tuesday for Garowe after fighting intensified in Bosaso but it's not clear if he had intentions of visiting the coastal city. After intensive meetings, sources told Garowe Online, both sides pledged to agree with a ceasefire for the sake of stability.

The former Somali Prime Minister Omar Sharmarke wrote on his Twitter account that the fighting should end and Puntland should do better after 23 years. He has been pushing for stability in the country for the last couple of years.

The ceasefire was announced by Abdisamad Gallan, the security minister of the Puntland government who said they are ready for talks with the sacked PSF director. This came after efforts by local traditional elders and religious leaders.

The US-backed PSF forces have been integral in the fight against Al-Shabaab and ISIS in the Bari region.

GAROWE ONLINE

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