The administration in Somalia's separatist region of Somaliland has remained quiet as unidentified foreign soldiers helped arrest terror suspects in a major town, Radio Garowe reports.
The operation took place Friday night around 10pm local time when Somaliland police raided a house and arrested five terror suspects.
Local residents in Burao, capital of Togdher region, told Garowe Online that an unidentified aircraft flew overhead Burao several times and landed at the town's small airstrip ahead of the police raid.
It was unclear what country the foreign soldiers came from, but witnesses described the soldiers and the military equipment as British or another Western country.
Furthermore, it was unclear if the foreign soldiers took part of the raid or supervised it, but local reports have confirmed that the foreign soldiers landed at the airstrip in Burao on Friday night, when the five terror suspects were arrested.
On Sunday, local reports said that the suspects were transferred to a prison in Hargeisa, capital of the separatist region of Somaliland.
One of the five suspects hails from Somaliland region and was identified as Saleban Mohamed Hussein Naleye, while the remaining suspects "came from Mogadishu," according to sources. Locals described Mr. Naleye as a former employee of Telesom, a major telecommunications company in Somaliland.
Mogadishu has been torn apart by violence since early 2007 as Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Shabaab insurgents have spearheaded a relentless campaign to overthrow Somalia’s UN-recognized Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Mogadishu.
The leader of Al Shabaab, Ahmed Abdi Godane, hails from Somaliland and used to work for a major money-wiring company in Hargeisa.
Government officials in Somaliland have refused to comment publicly on the anti-terror raid in Burao, but insiders say that Al Shabaab has maintained an "active presence" in Burao for many years.
Somaliland, located in northwestern Somalia, unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.
The Puntland government, located in northeast Somalia and west of Somaliland, has accused the Somaliland administration was hosting and reorganizing runaway Al Shabaab insurgents in western part of Sanaag region, which is controlled by Somaliland.
Puntland troops overran Al Shabaab insurgent hideouts in Galgala mountainous region in late October after a three-month military offensive whereby more than 96 militants were killed and others fled to Somaliland.
Puntland is Deeply Concerned About Somaliland's Growing Ties to Al Shabaab