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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid