Puntland, Somalia’s semi-autonomous province, announced on Friday that it had sent forces to the neighbouring region of Galmudug to assist the military there in driving al Shabaab Islamist militants out of a crucial town captured last month.
Last month, Al Shabaab rebels invaded and gained possession of a military facility in the Galmudug town of Amara following a battle with government special forces known as Danab and Darawish.
Amara is a strategic town on the way to Harardheere, another al Shabaab stronghold on the coast.
The governor of Puntland’s Mudug region, Abdilatif Muse Nuru San Yare, told Reuters they had sent troops with experience in fighting al Shabaab to Galmudug.
“We have sent troops to Galmudug who know how to fight al Shabaab and it is an alliance to eradicate al Shabaab,” Yare said. He did not say how many troops had been sent.
Al Shabaab has been fighting in Somalia for years in an attempt to topple the central government and establish its own rule based on its strict interpretation of sharia, or Islamic law.
The group often carries out gun and bomb attacks targeting both military and civilians targets.
“Since Puntland….has experience in fighting al Shabaab, we have asked them to help us expel al Shabaab,” Galmudug’s Deputy Security Minister, Abdulahi Abdisalan, told Reuters.