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AFRICA NEWS
Rival Somali forces face off over flashpoint Sool zone
by Staff Writers
Mogadishu (AFP) April 16, 2014


Armed forces from Somalia's rival northern regions faced off on Wednesday over a contested region, with both the United Nations and United States calling for calm.

Troops from self-declared Somaliland in the northwest and soldiers from autonomous Puntland in the northeast have deployed around the town of Taleh, a contested zone in the northern Sool region.

The two regions claim several areas in border regions including potentially valuable oil blocks, with both sides in certain cases issuing overlapping exploration licences.

Rival forces have clashed repeatedly in the region before, a lawless area bordering Ethiopia that does not recognise the authority of the weak central government based far to the south in Mogadishu.

"The situation will not be resolved by military means," UN special representative Nicholas Kay said in a statement.

"All parties must refrain from violent actions, and make immediate efforts to de-escalate the situation and resolve their differences through peaceful dialogue and compromise," he added.

US special representative James McAnulty expressed "deep concern" at the "mounting tensions" between the regions.

"We call upon all parties to refrain from violence and to seek resolution through peaceful dialogue," he said in a statement.

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