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UN envoy welcomes ceasefire agreement in central Somalia

Updated: 2015-03-07 20:58

MOGADISHU -- The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia Nicholas Kay has welcomed the interim ceasefire agreement between the government of Somalia and the moderate Islamist group Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa.

The government of Somalia on Friday signed the agreement with Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa, ending weeks of fighting that has claimed almost 50 lives and displaced hundreds of families in Guri El central Somalia.

"I welcome the ceasefire agreement reached today between the Federal Government and Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa. We note that the two forces have agreed to separate, local people displaced by the conflict will be returned home and that formal talks to secure a lasting solution will begin within ten days," Kay said in a statement issued in Mogadishu late on Friday.

"All parties must now refrain from any violent actions, and resolve their differences through peaceful dialogue and compromise. The United Nations stands ready to support all such efforts," he added.

In the agreement, which was led by Somali defence minister Abdiqadir Sheikh Dini and witnessed by local leaders and intellectuals in the region, the government agreed to withdraw its forces from the embattled town to allow displaced people to return.

Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamaa had clashed with government forces over control of the town, with the former insisting to control it after wrestling it from the Al-Qaida linked militant group Al-Shabaab.

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