Soldiers clash with Islamists in Somalia's Puntland region

2017-06-08 19:02
(File: AP)

(File: AP)

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Mogadishu - A dawn raid by jihadists on a military camp in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region on Thursday left at least 10 soldiers dead, security officials said.

The Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda group, claimed the attack saying it had killed 61 soldiers at the Af-Urur military base close to Golis Mountains, a well-known Islamist hideout.

"Shabaab militants attacked the Puntland military base near Galgala. The security forces have repelled them but there were some casualties," said Ahmed Abdiweli, a local security official who gave a figure of 10 dead and "several others" wounded.

"The militants also suffered heavy casualties and they have lost many of their fighters," he added.

In a statement, the Shabaab said it had launched the raid killing scores of soldiers and stealing vehicles and weapons.

Neither side's figures could be independently verified but residents reported heavy fighting.

"The fighting in Af-Urur was very intense this morning. There are dead bodies and wounded soldiers being brought to the hospital," said Hussein Dirie, an elder.

The Shabaab is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu, to the south.

Different Islamist groups are active in Puntland, including one that split from the Shabaab in 2016 pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group. Last month it claimed its first suicide bombing, killing at least five people in the port town of Bossaso.

Read more on:    al qaeda  |  al shabaab  |  isis  |  somalia  |  east africa

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