Ahlu-Sunah leaders turned themselves in to the confinement of the Somali government Saturday after fighting left 22 people dead in central Somalia.
The Ahlu-Sunah leaders Moallim Mohamud Sheikh and Sheikh Mohamed Shakir, surrendered the Somali national army in the town of Dhusamareb after the group’s militias were overpowered in a battle with government forces. Dhusamareb is the administrative capital of Galmudug state.
“Our security forces have ended the standoff and disarmed all ASWJ militias,” Osman Isse Nur, the spokesperson of the newly elected president said.
“We agreed to end the fighting for the sake of the civilians. We agreed to hand over ASWJ militias to the commander-general who will, in return, take responsibility for the safety of all our members, including the leader,” Shakir said.
Three competing politicians are claiming to be the leader of the Galmudug state. Early this month, the parliament of Galmudug elected Ahmed Abdi Kariye as president. He is a former minister backed by the government. ASWJ chief Sheikh Shakir rejected the action declared himself as a president, while former president Ahmed Duale refused to cede power.
The Ahlu-Sunah played a crucial role in the fight against al-Shabab militants, and early this week, a U.S. diplomat said in remarks at the U.N. Security Council briefing that internal rivalries among allies in Somalia could derail the effort to combat al-Qaida-linked insurgents.