9 December 2012

Somalia: Puntland Commandos Unit Capture Al Shabaab Mountain Outpost

Photo: Stuart Price/UN
A soldier stands over the weapons seized from suspected members of Al Shabaab (file photo).

Bossaso, Somalia — Puntland commandos carried out a nighttime raid on an alleged Al Shabaab outpost in the Golis Mountain Range, inflicting Al Shabaab casualties and confiscating weapons and supplies late Friday night, Garowe Online reports.

According to the Puntland press release, the daring nighttime raid occurred deep in northern Puntland's Golis Mountain ranges in the villages of El Dibir and Dudun two mountainous villages 45 kms west of Galgala village.

A Puntland security source told GO that an elite commandos team from the Puntland Security Forces (PSF) trekked for more than 20 hours to reach the two operation bases in the villages.

The Puntland press release said that, "Puntland intelligence indicated that this location served as a home for Al Shabaab senior members and is the location where wounded combatants received medical treatment."

The security source confirmed to GO that at least 2 Al Shabaab fighters were killed but declined to confirm if Puntland commandos captured Al Shabaab fighters in the raid.

Supplies the commandos captured

The forces captured medical supplies, food and arms in the bases. The press release stated that some Al Shabaab agents escaped into nearby caves and valleys in the Golis Mountain Range.

The raid deep in the Golis Mountain Range is a blow to the Al Shabaab fighters that have infiltrated the mountains. Al Shabaab agents fleeing allied forces' offensive in southern Somalia have infiltrated the mountain ranges.

Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole has spoke about the threat the infiltration poses to Puntland.

Last week, Al Shabaab fighters attacked a Puntland defense force outpost in Sugurre. A half hour gun battle ensued that killed 2 Puntland soldiers and 7 Al Shabaab fighters.

According to security sources, Puntland security forces are pursuing Al Shabaab fighters in the Golis Mountains with the Puntland government better equipped with intelligence in the area from the previous offensive.

In 2010, Puntland engaged in a 2-month battle in the Golis Mountains - dubbed the Galgala campaign - with self-declared Al Shabaab fighters, suppressing the insurgency in the mountain range village.

After the offensive, the Al Shabaab who took cover deep in the mountain ranges, regrouped and in February, Khalid Yassin Uthman (a.k.a. Kilwe) announced that he was the leader of Al Shabaab in the Golis Mountains.

The mountains ranges with its vast valleys and caves, rough terrain and heavily forested areas provide good cover for the terrorist organization.

Earlier this year Al Shabaab agents in Golis Mountains announced that they had merged with the Al Qaeda terrorist organization.

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