GURIEL (SD) -Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a forces have today withdrawn from Guriel town after four days of intense battle against government security troops that have left more than 120 people dead.
Multiple sources confirmed that the withdrawal of Ahlu Sunna forces from Guriel district came after local businessmen and politicians facilitated talks to secure a safe passage for the group.
Fighters loyal to ASWJ retreated north to the nearby village of Godwiil, leaving their strongholds in the northern part of the city within the university area. The group previously defied a government ultimatum to leave the town on Sunday.
The group left behind two military vehicles belonging to government forces which were captured during last month’s clashes in Bohol.
Government troops now control the town and have secured the main roads and established checkpoints.
The development comes hours after Galmudug president Ahmed Abdi Kariye Qoorqoor blamed Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a (ASWJ) for the deadly fighting that has broken out in Guriel over the weekend.
Galmudug President defended the move to deploy a military offensive against Ahlu Sunna Waljaama, noting all diplomatic options were exhausted before the decisive action.
Ahlu Sunna group released a statement Tuesday saying it welcomed the calls for peace from all quarters and also said it recognizes the existence of the Galmudug State.
However, the group faulted AMISOM for the destruction of hospitals and aid centers run by the Somali federal government during the fighting, an allegation not yet responded to by AMISOM.