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Saida Osman, a Bosaso resident, told Somalia Report that sounds of heavy weapons could be heard around the town. A battle between police and militants began after armed Galgala militia attacked the check point. Police tried to defend themselves and the militants eventually retreated into the mountains, where they were followed by Puntland forces. More than eight people were killed, and others sustained injury during the fighting which took place in Galgala mountains on Saturday.
Abdisamad Mohamed Galan, the governor of Bari region confirmed the attack to Somalia Report. “Galgala militia attacked the check point last night. Seven died including a policeman and civilians. Another five were injured in the confrontation. We found one dead body of the Galgala militia,” he said.
“Seven died including a policeman and a civilian who were received at the hospital. Another five were also injured,” Mohamed Tima Jilic, a Bosaso hospital staff told Somalia Report.
The fighting erupted early morning on Sturday and has been going on all day; reports indicate that the casualties could be much higher.
The alliance between Sheikh Atom's militia and al-Shabaab has threatened the stability of Puntland. Recently, the Puntland administration celebrated the digging of oil wells in Bari region but the al-Shabaab-linked militia has threatened that they will attack their bases.
Sources among Puntland officials informed Somalia Report that the dead Galgala militia man has been tentatively identified as Abu Safwaan.
This is the first serious attack that the Galgala militia have launched against Puntland since a group amongst them declared their alliance to al-Shabaab leading to dissent among its members.
Al-Shabaab Claim Responsibility
Speaking to media in Mogadishu, the al-Shabaab spokesman added that they will continue attacks against Puntland forces in the Bari region. During the fighting, 12 Puntland forces were injured and they were admitted to Bosaso hospital, the injury of three of them seems serious while others are improving, according to a doctor working in the hospital, who spoke to Somalia Report on condition of anonymity. He added that one of the Puntland soldiers had died in the hospital.
Al-Shabaab spokesman Abdiaziz Abu Musab confirmed the death of three al-Shabaab militia, and an unidentified number of injured. “We attacked them and they fought back. The mujahideen faced the bullets of the enemy and killed five Puntland troops. They fled when we started using mortars. On our side, three of our mujahideen were killed, we pray that are in paradise,” Abdiaziz said.
“We are asking the population in Puntland to support Galgala’s Mujahideen, particularly youths should support the Jihad and take over power from the Puntland government which fights against the Islam and supports Ethiopia and America,” added Sheikh Abdiaziz.
Meanwhile, the Galgala militia also attacked Puntland forces in area between Karin and Laag villages in southern Bosasao on Saturday, witnesses told Somalia Report.
Puntland officials released a statement in Garowe. “The Puntland forces attacked bases belonging to the Galgala militia in the Galgala Mountains. The Puntland forces seized the area and killed 3 militia members. Their bodies three were taken to Bosaso for identification by locals. The Galgala militia also attacked a police checkpoint in Bosaso last night, but the police defended the area and they ran away. Puntland forces have confidence in the local population, and they are working with us. We encourage the locals to continue working with the forces,” said Puntland spokesman Ahmed Omar Hirsi (known as Libaax Joore).
The Galgala militia has yet to offer comment.