Somalia’s Puntland military claims 16 Al-Shabaab militants killed

xinhua

Authorities in the semi autonomous region of Puntland in Somalia have claimed their military forces killed at least 16 Al-Shabaab militants and injured scores of others in a military offensive.

Security Minister Hassan Osman Mohamud told journalists late Saturday that Puntland military launched an assault on the Al- Qaida linked militant group Al-Shabaab bases in Madashoor area, killing 16 of them and inflicting injuries on 26 others on Friday.

The minister said the raid at the bases was to rescue citizens who had been kidnapped by the militant group in the mountainous region which is considered the launching pad for Al-Shabaab in the northern part of Somalia.

But in a swift rejoinder, Al-Shabaab claimed they killed 24 Puntland soldiers and injured several others.

Abdi Aziz Abu Muscab, the militant group spokesman, sent statement to local media claiming they inflicted heavy losses on the Puntland soldiers.

Puntland region of Somalia declared itself semi autonomous with a fully fledged military force following the collapse of the Somali state in 1991.

However it has not sought independence from Somalia though its neighbor Somaliland which broke off the same time has been clamoring for independence from Somalia.

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