News / Africa

Somali Puntland Forces Attack al-Qaida-Linked Militia

Multimedia

Audio
Michael Onyiego

Fierce fighting has broken out in Somalia's semi-autonomous state of Puntland, as the government mounts an offensive to drive out Islamist forces accused of destabilizing the region.  Attacks in the region took place near Bosaso, in the western Bari region of Somalia.

Puntland President Abdirahman Farole told reporters the fighting was initiated by the rebels early Monday when they attacked Puntland security forces gathered in the area.  There are unconfirmed reports that more than a dozen rebels were killed in the fighting.  President Farole said Puntland forces killed some rebels and also captured one of the leaders of the attack.

The president called for the international community to assist Puntland in eradicating Islamist insurgents in the region, warning that it would spread throughout Somalia if not eliminated.  The Puntland government has been preparing for an offensive in the region in recent weeks to expel the remnants of insurgent group al-Ittihad al Islamiya, led by Mohamed Said Atom.

While most of the group was driven out by the government in the early 1990s, Atom has maintained a presence in the mountainous region on Puntland's eastern border, which the government fears will be used to establish terrorist training camps similar to those in Afghanistan.  The U.N. Security Council has also identified Atom as one of the principal suppliers for Islamist group al-Shabab, which controls much of southern and central Somalia.

President Farole has accused Atom, as well as "international terror groups," of attempting to destabilize the semi-autonomous region.  In addition to mobilizing forces around Galgala, the Puntland government expelled about 500 southern Somalis last week from the region's economic capital Bosaso.  The deportation has drawn sharp criticism from the U.N. refugee agency, but President Farole defended the expulsions, saying the group targeted posed a major security threat to the region.  The 500 are being sent back to their homes in the tumultuous south, where insurgents - such as al-Shabab - are battling Somalia's Transitional Federal Government to create an Islamic state.

The terrorist group, which controls large portions of the region including parts of Mogadishu, has recently ordered families living in Shabab-held territories in the Lower Shabele region to send one able-bodied male to fight government and African Union forces in Mogadishu.  While there are conflicting reports about the order, one source told VOA those unable to pay were required to donate either money to al-Shabab or blood for wounded fighters.

Other reports from other residents in Lower Shabele indicated that families that can not provide male volunteers must purchase an AK-47 from the rebel group or simply pay $50 per month.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More