GALKAYO, Puntland – On Friday, Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni welcomed Ahmed Kariye aka Qoor Qoor to the presidential palace in Galkayo, the meeting taking place at least two months after his inauguration as regional chief of Galmadug.
Galmadug’s president, elected in February under controversial circumstances, arrived in the border town Friday morning with senior government officials from Dhusamareb for a meeting on relations between the two federal states.
Several sources told AxadleTM that the two leaders also discussed national politics, which divided Somalia in the next election. To date, the country has yet to determine the election date and the likely model, which has sparked criticism of the Somali federal government.
While Puntland enjoys relative stability, Galmadug recently emerged from a contested election, which saw the swearing in of Qoor Qoor delayed by a few months. Clashes also took place in Dhusamareb, involving the moderate Sufi group ASWJ and the Somali national army. [SNA].
Although it is not clear what the two leaders discussed on national politics, regional states have lobbied for a conference that, among other things, aims to establish the model of elections, the distribution of seats and the division of natural resource revenues.
Earlier this week, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo officially called for a meeting between the FGS and the member states, which is scheduled to take place July 5-8 in Mogadishu. The president was under pressure from international partners.
The meeting, said Villa Somalia spokesman Abdinur Mohamed, will focus on the national elections, security, the threat of Al-Shabaab and the strengthening of the Somali economy. We do not know who will play the role of mediator during the conference.
Deni and Qoor Qoor, sources added, also discussed the escalation of insecurity incidents in Galmadug and Puntland, particularly in Galkayo, which lies on the border of the two states. They have agreed to mobilize resources to fight the endless attacks by Al-Shabaab, reports say.
Al-Shabaab activists have stepped up operations in the two states in recent weeks, leaving dozens injured or dead. According to security reports, the militants were targeting security forces and senior government officials in the country.
For example, the governor of Nugal Abdisalam Hassan Hersi was killed in Garowe by activists in April. Weeks later, activists attacked and killed Mudug governor Muse Nur in Galkayo in a raid that left four people dead.
Puntland and Galmadug will now join forces to eliminate the militants by mobilizing the security forces, the two leaders agreed. SNA troops also participated in the fight against the threat of Al-Shabaab in the two states.
Although Galmadug, HirShabelle and Southwest are considered friendly to the federal government, there have been complaints about the allocation of national resources, hence the mobilization underway before the July meeting. Puntland and Kismaayo are seen as critical of the current administration.
On Thursday, Kismaayo asked the lower house of the federal parliament to refrain from debating and voting on disputed clauses on the national elections until “we meet and discuss the way forward”. The lower house has debated and adopted the proposals of the ad hoc parliamentary committee on the elections over the past week.
In addition, the meeting took place just one day before the long-awaited historical presentation of the electoral laws proposed by the Independent National Electoral Commission [NIEC], who must submit the report home Saturday.