Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali has said government forces have captured the main base of Radical Islamic militant group in Northern Somalia after a fierce battle.
The mountainous Galgala area of Bari province has been the main militant stronghold in the stable semi-autonomous region since 2010.
President Ali, addressing journalists, said that the forces launched a major assault in early hours on Wednesday and moments later militants were pushed out from the town of Galgala.
It’s not the first time Puntland forces have captured the town from the militants.
The number of casualties has not yet been confirmed, but Puntland President said they had lost only one soldier during the battle and uncounted number of al-Shabaab insurgents were killed.
An al-Shabaab Spokesman denied that the militants were driven out of the key base, claiming that they killed many Puntland soldiers during the battle.
Deadly battles between Puntland forces and al-Shabaab militants have continuously occurred in Galgala mountain ranges since 2010.
Since al-Shabaab were pushed out of key towns in Southern and Central Somalia, dozens of militants started to seek for safe havens in the mountainous area.
The seizure of the militant base comes as African Union and Somali forces prepare to capture al-Shabaab’s last major stronghold in Southern Somalia.
Al-Shabaab insurgents have also launched attacks and assassinations across Puntland regions.