Somalia’s autonomous region of Puntland declared on Thursday that it ended a week-long military offensive against al-Shabaab militants that arrived by boats in the Northern coastal provinces, a senior official said.
The sweeping offensive named after ‘’Danab’’, which means lightning, was launched on the 14th of March a day after the militants landed at the Coastal village of Gar’ad.
Speaking at a news conference, Puntland Defense forces chief General Saeed Mohamed Hirsi said that the high intensity operations ended successfully, with over 200 militants killed and others captured alive.
‘’The operations against the terrorists were completed in a very successful fashion. A total of 208 militants were killed and 46 others were detained. We lost 20 soldiers.’’
He added that the army also seized a large deal of ammunition and heavy weapons such as RPGs, explosive devices, and communication tools, which were displayed to the media.
In a move to boost and hail the landmark victory reached by the Puntland forces, Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali reached the town of Gar’ad on Thursday where the militants had arrived first before moving to other areas.
Present at the news conference, President Ali hailed the victory reached by his forces, urging all Somalis across the country to unite in the war against al-Shabaab extremists.
On the al-Shabaab Children soldiers captured in the battle, Puntland President stressed that his administration will practically provide rehabilitation and reintegration programs to them.
The battle against al-Shabaab launched by Puntland defense forces set a major landmark reached by Somali forces without the help or aid of foreign troops.