6 November 2012

Somalia: Puntland Forces Kill Al Shabaab Fighter, Civilian Dead in Gunfire Exchange

Photo: The Daily Nation
Members of Al Shabaab (file photo).

Bossaso — Security forces in Somalia's Puntland government killed one armed men that Puntland says is Al Shabaab fighter in Dhahar tpwn on Monday in a counter-terrorism operation, Garowe Online reports.

According to Puntland Government press release, security forces killed Hassan Ismail Sardheye whom the government identified as a prominent member of Al Shabaab group.

"Armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, he immediately began firing at security forces as they approached to arrest him at a public location," read the government press release issued by Puntland Ministry of Security and DDR [Disarmament, Demobilization and Rehabilitation].

Mr. Sardheye was Al Shabaab commander during the 2010 Galgala conflict between Puntland government forces and Al Shabaab group, after terrorism attacks killed Puntland civilians and government officials in the port of Bossaso.

The operations were successful in destroying much of the Al Shabaab insurgent's power and resources and the terrorist group fled the mountain range, but many fighters have returned in recent months.

Mr. Sardheye was captured by the Puntland military in 2011 and was later given pardoned in an understanding between the Puntland government and by the local clan in Dhahar town.

According to Puntland authorities, he later escaped Dhahar and traveled to Mogadishu and southern Somalia where he helped facilitate the infiltration of 50 Al Shabaab fighters into Puntland's Golis Mountains.

He returned to Dhahar town and Puntland forces were notified of his presence in the town and quickly organized a security raid to capture Mr. Sardheye.

One civilian bystander was killed in Tuesday's exchange of gunfire between Mr. Sardheye and the Puntland police forces in Dhahar town, according to the government statement and local reports.

Puntland authorities have vowed to continue fighting Al Shabaab militants attempting to infiltrate Puntland.

According to security officials, the Al Shabaab fighters travel through Indian Ocean via fishing vessels and also have been known to cross through Somaliland where they receive safe passage from terror agents and head to the Golis Mountain range, which provides mountain hideout for Al Shabaab militant group.

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