Somali opposition members have been holding private talks in Yemen over the past few days, with a spokesman saying that an agreement had been reached to mend differences within the opposition.
Sheikh Yusuf Ali Aynte, a spokesman for the Islamic Courts, told the BBC Somali Service during a Tuesday interview that the meetings in Yemen have helped “end differences” among opposition leaders within the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS).
A public dispute among ARS leaders dominated by Islamists surfaced after ARS Chairman Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed signed a peace pact on June 9 with Ethiopian-backed Somali Prime Minister Nur “Adde” Hassan Hussein.
According to that agreement, a 90-day ceasefire will be implemented across Somalia and Ethiopian troops will withdraw by October, when they are replaced by a “sufficient” number of United Nations peacekeeping troops.
Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, an Eritrea-based Somali Islamist leader and an ARS member, rejected the peace agreement and accused Sheikh Sharif of violating ARS bylaws.
The dispute divided the ARS into two wings one based in Eritrea, where the alliance was founded last year, and the second group based in Djibouti.
By early July, delegations from Eritrea and Djibouti were pouring into Yemen for proposed peace talks among the ARS wings. Insiders tell Garowe Online that rebel commanders flew from Mogadishu to participate at the talks in Yemen.
It is not clear whether or not Eritrea-based ARS members have accepted the June 9 peace agreement, but insurgent violence has continued in Somalia nonstop since that agreement was signed.