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Shabaab kills Somali soldiers in Puntland ambush

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

At least two Somali soldiers were killed on Monday in an ambush laid by Al-Shabaab militants in the semi-autonomous Puntland region.

"Al-Shabaab militants attacked two of our army bases in the Galgala Mountains on Sunday and Monday," Abdulkadir Samaysane, a senior official in the Puntland regional government, told The Anadolu Agency by phone.

He said government forces had survived Sunday's attack.

"But we lost two soldiers in today's attack," he admitted, "while four to six were injured."

Radio Andalus, a pro-Shabaab radio station, meanwhile, claimed that five soldiers were killed in Monday's ambush.

Northeastern Somalia's rugged Galgala Mountains region has recently been a theater of conflict between the Somali army and the militant group.

Last week, five militants were killed in an army offensive carried out in the region.

In the past, the mountains have provided a refuge for Al-Shabaab fighters fleeing African Union peacekeepers and Somalia troops.

Meanwhile, at least five people were killed Monday in a bomb blast targeting government forces in the southern Somali town of Afgoye, a Somali official has said.

"For now I put the death toll at five. Four soldiers and one civilian," Mohamed Mascud of the Lower Shabelle authority told The Anadolu Agency.

"We are still waiting for any updates on the critically wounded," he said.

The bomb went off as a convoy moving from Mogadishu to Marka made a stopover at a tea kiosk.

According to the Internal Security Ministry, the Mogadishu-Afgoye road has recorded the highest number of roadside blasts targeting government troops and African Union peacekeepers.

Al-Shabaab, which in recent years has waged an active insurgency against the Mogadishu government, has recently suffered several significant blows, including the loss of most of its strongholds in southern and central Somalia.

Several group members have also recently been killed in U.S. drone strikes.

Nevertheless, the group has continued to launch deadly attacks on government officials and security troops.

On Friday, at least 12 people – including several top government officials – were killed in a twin suicide blast that targeted a Mogadishu hotel.



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