Bossaso — Officials in Somalia's Puntland government have vowed to defend the region's peace and stability, while condemning Al Shabaab as a "bloodthirsty violent group" in Somalia, Garowe Online reports.
Dressed in military uniform, Puntland Security Minister Gen. Khalif Issa Mudan told a Monday press conference in the port city of Bossaso that Puntland "strongly condemns" remarks by Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage (Ali Dheere), who threatened to "destroy Puntland" in a recent recording posted on the Internet.
"The Government is mandated to defend the stability of Puntland and to protect the public," said Minister Mudan at the press conference in Bossaso, Puntland's commercial city.
"Al Shabaab terrorist group supports all spoilers linked to insecurity and political disorder in Somalia," continued the government statement.
The Puntland security minister's statement praised the Puntland Defense Force for its commitment to "defend the security and stability of Puntland" while warning that "any act of insecurity will be dealt with as an act organized by terrorists aiming to damage the stability of Puntland."
In recent days, Puntland police have detained dozens of suspects in Bossaso following bullets fired on a hotel in Bossaso on the night of Jan. 4.
In 2010, Puntland launched a three-month military offensive to flush out Al Qaeda-member Al Shabaab fighters hiding out in the Golis Mountain Range, around the Galgala area. Puntland officials say Al Shabaab group has been regrouping in the Galgala area in recent months, after military pressure by African Union and Somali forces in southern Somalia.