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Puntland and Al-Shabaab Battle in Gara’ad enters second day

Storyline:National News

Puntlanf forces and Al-Shabaab fighters are combating for a second day in Gara’ad district on Monday.

“Armed confrontations between Puntland forces and Al-Shabaab fighters are continuing ,” Puntland army brigadier said.

The fighting is taking place in Takaraale and Kulub of Mudug region that come under Garacad district.

There have been casualties among both the Puntland and the jihadists.

Officials said the clashes began on Sunday as a fight between Puntland forces and Al-Shabaab Suuj village ended.

Garad is a former haven for pirates, who had used the natural port to mount raids on commercial ships passing along nearby shipping lanes leading to and from the Red Sea

14th this month, Somali Islamist militants briefly held a port town in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland before withdrawing early next day

Puntland, which occupies a region of northeastern Somalia, declared itself to be an autonomous state in 1998 but remains under the purview of the Somali federal government. It borders the breakaway state of Somaliland, which declared independence following the overthrow of Somali military dictator Siad Barre in 1991.

Puntland lies outside the area of operation of the African Union mission in Somalia—known as AMISOM—which deploys some 22,000 troops in the Horn of Africa state. AMISOM and the Somali National Army drove Al-Shabab out of its strongholds in southern Somalia in 2015, but the group has since reportedly moved northwards into parts of Puntland.