The forces of semi-autonomous regional state of Puntland backed by Somali National Army have retaken control of the strategic coastal town of Qandala which has been under fighters who had declared allegiance to Islamic State for a month, Puntland officials said.
Shire Haji Farah, Puntland’s minister for planning told reporters that they recaptured Qandala town from militants loyal to Daesh Wednesday.
“We have fully captured the town from militants, we reached there earlier in the morning, they fell and headed in their stronghold of Galgala” Farah.
The pro-IS militants captured Qandala in November, marking the first major assault by the group which is trying to make its foothold on the Horn of Africa country.
Led by Abdulkadir Mumin, a preacher formerly based in Britain, the pro-IS group split from Al-Shabaab, the Al-Qaida-linked Islamist group that has been battling the Somali government for a decade in October 2015.
Qandala is located in Somalia’s northern region of Barri and it is an ancient city which has been under control of Daesh since October this year.