Puntland semiautonomous state in northern Somalia declared victory over fighters the Al-Qaeda linked fighters who overrun towns in the region, the first major triumph which marked a turnaround for the region which had launched a major campaign to recapture lost ground on early March.
Security forces launched a decisive counterattack after Al Shabab fighters seized villages and towns in the region as parts of an attempt aimed at expanding the group’s presence in the region amid a military pressure militants are facing in southern Somalia after allied forces continued pushing deeper into rebel strongholds and
seized most of their key strongholds.
Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, Puntland’s president credited military success against extremists’ invasion to a ‘massive’ support by locals who rallied behind the regional state in fight against Al Shabab fighters.
“This victory by our troops came as result of unity and support shown by our people. ”he said during a visit in Jariban, a remote village in the east of the region before he travelled to battlefields to salute military units.
Puntland’s local beamed images of troops celebrating in the areas they regained along with young militants captured during the week-long battles, however, officials said that the young men would undergo rehabilitation to de-radicalize them.
Local villages also showed support for troops battling militants in the remote villages by transporting piles of food and water to the frontlines. .
The development comes days after the region’s troops recaptured Suj, a contested mountainous valley area near the eastern coastal areas after fierce clashes. Militants have retreated after troops captured 29 fighters and killed scores of militants, according to officials.
Military officials said that the next target after Suj will be Garacad, a town overrun by militants after launching a seaborne
Through troops continue building momentum, militants continue controlling few villages in the regions, however, military commanders said that the latest advances by security forces had effectively abolished Al Shabab’s effort to expand its presence into more areas in the region.
The northern Somalia region had remained stable during over decades old conflict in Somalia which largely engulfed large parts in the south and central Somalia.