16 Al-Shabaab fighters killed in northeastern Somalia

By Yassin Juma

MOGADISHU (AA) – At least 16 members of the militant group Al-Shabaab have been killed along with two Somali troops during battles in the northeastern state of Puntland, Somali authorities said Saturday

"The Puntland government confirmed the death of 16 Al-Shabaab fighters in two days of battles," Mohamed Osman, an Interior Ministry official, told The Anadolu Agency.

"Puntland troops staged an attack on Al-Shabaab hideouts in Galgala mountains," he added.

The Somali government, meanwhile, estimated the number of Al-Shabaab fighters wounded during the battles at 26.

It said six government troops were also wounded during the same battles.

The battles started on Saturday and continued to rage through Saturday.

"The main aim of the offensive was to rescue a number of hostages held by the terrorist group," Osman said.

It was not immediately clear whether the troops had managed to rescue the hostages.

Nevertheless, Al-Shabaab claimed that the Somali government had lost 24 troops, while only three of its fighters had been killed.

Al-Shabaab spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab told the pro-Al-Shabaab radio station Al-Andalus that three Al-Shabaab fighters had been killed by government troops.

The Somali government has recently staged a military offensive in the rugged Galgala mountains in Puntland.

Al-Shabaab has continued to be present in Puntland, attacking police stations and military bases.

Following the group's defeat in its former strongholds in southern and central Somalia, some of Al-Shabaab's fighters relocated to Puntland.


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