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A farmer in Laag village who requested to be identified only as Mukhtar told Somalia Report, “The fighting broke out around 3am, after militants attacked Puntland bases in Laag village.”
A Puntland official for the Bari region, Abdiwahid Mohamed, confirmed the fighting to Somalia Report, but denied that Sheikh Atom’s militia took part saying, “An unknown militia attacked our bases and forces in Laag village late on Thursday night, but it was not Atom's militia. I am sure they were cowards who cannot face our soldiers directly, and we will investigate who they are as soon as possible.” He added that the four soldiers who were injured have been taken to Bosaso hospital to receive treatment.
Sheikh Mohamed Atom’s militia have not been available for comment. Sheikh Atom's militia, which is battling Puntland forces in the mountainous Galgala region, have vowed that they will make all efforts to introduce Sharia law in Puntland and called all Muslims in the region to Jihad.
Puntland officails have accused Atom of being linked with the Islamist militants of al-Shabaab, but he has denied any links.