A Cabinet minister in Somalia's separatist region of Somaliland has expressed his worries about a group of militants fighting against Puntland government, Radio Garowe reports.
Dr. Mohamed Abdi Gabose, Somaliland's interior minister, told a press conference Tuesday in Hargeisa that the security situation in Somaliland is stable and that security forces are aware of all movements.
Dr. Gabose was asked by Hargeisa journalists what the Somaliland government thinks of the Galgala militants allied to Al Shabaab, who are led by a man named Mohamed Said Atom.
"They [Galgala militants] are a threat to Somaliland if they are defeated by Puntland or not," Somaliland Interior Minister Dr. Gabose responded to the reporter's question.
He explained that if the Galgala militants are not defeated, they are a serious threat to Somaliland security "because they are an armed force," adding: "If they are defeated, their remnants can commit acts of terrorism inside Somaliland."
Dr. Gabose stated that Somaliland's administration "does not have a clear strategy" to face off the Galgala militants but indicated that the administration was "very worried" about developments in Golis mountain range that connect Somaliland and Puntland.
Atom and the Galgala militants have hidden in the Golis mountain range and are being hunted down by Puntland troops, according to government officials in Puntland.
Puntland troops have seized all three facilities used by the Galgala militants, who have pledged their allegiance to Al Shabaab. Puntland accuses the Galgala militants of assassinations and bombings inside Puntland and government troops have seized facilities including training camps.
Separately, Somaliland's interior minister Dr. Gabose denied media reports that relations between Somaliland and Ethiopia have gotten worse since the June election of President Ahmed Silanyo in Somaliland.
Somaliland, located in northwest Somalia, unilaterally declared independence in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.
Somalia: Somaliland minister appeals for security cooperation with Puntland