Puntland forces kill several Daesh militants, seize explosives
BOSSASO, Somalia - Puntland Special Forces on Monday killed at least eight Daesh militants in the northern Somali Federal state, in an operation which showcases the ability of regional forces in tackling local militia and militants, who have been wreaking havoc across the Horn of Africa nation.
According to security forces, Puntland Special Forces targeted the militants in the Iskushuban area in the Bari region, which has been the base to both Daesh and ISIS-Somalia militants, with elements of Al-Shabaab group also sighted often in the region along the Indian Ocean coastal strip.
Intensive fighting broke out at the Daesh base when the Puntland forces fired at them, leading to a heavy gunfight that lasted for several hours on Monday morning according to security reports. At least eight Daesh militants died on the spot which several others were critically injured, security forces said.
Two trucks carrying food and explosives for the militants were also seized and are currently under the custody of Puntland forces. The explosives, authorities said, are used in launching small to large scale sporadic attacks across Puntland by the militants.
Insiders said the operation by the Puntland forces had been in the offing for many months now following increased activities of the militants in Puntland, which has seen the militants kill dozens of top state officials and innocent civilians.
The fighting took place at Ceel II and Timirshe villages of Bari where the militants are said to have been actively recruiting youths to their group. Several mortar shells were also fired during the operation, as security forces engaged the militants in the gunfight.
In recent months, militants' activities have been reported in the rather peaceful and quiet federal state of Somalia, which enjoys stability due to existing institutions that enjoy government support. Several attacks have been reported within the same period.
For instance, Nugal Governor Abdisalam Hassan Hersi was killed in Garowe, the regional administrative capital of Puntland in April outside a police station along with a senior former police officer. Al-Qaida linked Al-Shabaab militants claimed responsibility after the deadly attack.
A few days later, police reports indicate, Mudug Governor Muse Nur was also killed at Galkayo, a town that is situated along Puntland and Galmadug. The Al-Shabaab militants also took responsibility for the attack, leading to increased crackdown against the militants.
Since then, security operations have been mounted across Puntland in recent weeks, leading to deaths of several militants besides the destruction of their bases and explosives especially within the coastal town of Bosaso, where a port is being built.
President Said Abdullahi Deni has also fast-tracked recruitment of security forces who are supported internally with others also getting help from Somalia's international partners. The local forces are working closely with the Somali National Army [SNA].
Next year, the African Union Mission troops working in Somalia will hand over security responsibilities to SNA and regional forces ahead of their planned exit. AMISOM is credited for helping to wipe out Al-Shabaab militants in several towns across Somalia.