Somalia: Al-Shabab reportedly overran Puntland military base

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

BOSASO, Puntland - Somalia's militant Islamist group Al-Shabab was reported to have carried out a major assault on a military base in Puntland, killing close to 10 soldiers and wounding dozens more, Garowe Online reports.

The raid began at midnight after armed fighters have reportedly attacked the base in Balli-Khadar area near Galgala mountains in Bari region from multiple directions, forcing the regional forces to retreat.

The militants managed to overrun the camp following an amassed ground assault involving “hundreds” of Al-Shabaab militants using heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and other small arms.

"Puntland forces withdrew from their bases after they were overpowered during the fighting," said a local resident who spoke to GO over the phone on condition of anonymity.

The number of the casualties is not clearly known, but, Al Shabab said in a statement on Saturday that it has killed at least 7 soldiers in the ambush attack and burnt down several military vehicles.

Sources in Puntland army put the death toll at 6, saying it could be higher. Puntland government is to comment on the incident which comes amid a surge in terrorist attacks in the region.

In the past, Puntland has repeatedly accused Somaliland of supporting terrorist groups in the mountains amid tension between the two states in the disputed northern Sool region.

In June last year, Al-Shabab raided military outpost at the remote Af-Urur camp, about 100km west of the commercial hub of Bossaso, which Officials called the region's deadliest attack in years.

Puntland in northern Somalia also faces a growing threat from ISIL-linked fighters who have split from Al-Shabab.  

Al-Shabab has carried out a spate of attacks on military bases in Somalia since the start of the Holy month of Ramadan.

On Friday, June 1, 2018, the group has waged an attack on Moqokori town in Hiran region of central Somalia which forced Somali government forces to withdraw.



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