Somalia: Bad weather hampers advance in Galgala-Puntland Army Chief
GAROWE, Somalia, March 1, 2015 (Garowe Online)-Puntland Army Commander-in-Chief Gen. Saed Mohamed Hirsi (Saed Dheere)has faulted bad weather, impassable earth roads and rough terrain for the slow pace of fight against Al Qaeda linked Al Shabaab militants in Galgala, Garowe Online reports.
During a 30 minute-long program moderated by VOA Somali Service on Saturday afternoon, Gen. Saed Dheere said, though army troops made considerable advances on the frontline, difficult terrains and damaging weather condition presented challenge to the north eastern state.
When asked about the slow response to Al Shabaab’s hit-and-run attacks, he went on: “There are several problems we encountered-bad weather condition, impassable roads and geographically, rough topography”.
Puntland army chief noted that troops further moved 75km off Bossaso-Garowe highway and have inflicted heavy losses on Al Shabaab militants since December 2014.
He said more than 80 Al Shabaab fighters were killed and as many as 100 were wounded in sporadic raids on hotbeds in Galgala.
October 1, 2014 Puntland forces took back Al Shabaab from the agriculture-rich village of Galgala, 50km southwest of the Gulf of Aden port city of Bossaso.
According to the government, 14 soldiers died and 20 others were wounded in clashes and roadside bombings.
Al Shabaab honed terror operations in Bossaso, carrying out 4 raids on pre-planned targets in three weeks.
Former Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole launched major offensive against the militant group in mid-2010. Ever since Al Shabaab has been regrouping in hideouts along Golis Mountain ranges.