BOSASSO (RBC) RBC Radio has learnt that senior officials of Somalia’s semi-autonomous state of Puntland have been carrying a secret negotiation with Sheikh Mohamed Said Atam, An insurgent commander based in the Galgala Mountains in the east of Puntland.
Sources close to Puntland presidency confirmed that the negotiation which begun a week ago is still in process and that many significant issues were discussed.
“The main points of the discussions are the peace and the stability of the region”. The source told RBC Radio with anonymity condition because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The negotiation started indirectly between the two sides but the sources said it later changed into direct talks between the two sides.
“On our side we sent the police commander, a presidential officer and the director general of security ministry while their side was senior representatives of Sheikh Atam”. The source explained.
The source gave very positive steps had been made since the beginning of these talks.
On July last year, Puntland forces raided Galgala Mountains, the biggest base of Atam’s militia but the group which already announced its allied to Al-Shabab rebels resisted back the forces on February 2011.
“Puntland, on its side wants peace full end of the crisis between the two sides”. He added.
The sources told RBC Radio that Puntland government struggles to wrap up the armed violence in the Galgala area, which is the southwest of Bosasso, the main sea port of the region.
Puntland officials suggested Atam’s militia to surrender to the government and put the arms, while Puntland will provide full security commitment of Atam and his group members.
It is unclear whether Sheikh Atam, who is on a UN Security Council watchlist will be included to the government or not.
The negotiations came a week after Puntland President Abdurrahman Mohamed Farole called for Atam’s group to put their weapons and negotiate with his administration.
Puntland is the northeastern corner of Somalia has been relatively stable since its formation on 1998, but the region had seen a widespread insecurity and planned killing targeted to top security officials in late months.