Puntland forces attack al-Shabab in Somali mountains


Forces from Somalia's northern Puntland region have attacked a cell of al-Shabab militants, officials say.

Puntland President Abdirahman Sheik Mohamed says the security forces killed 13 Islamist fighters after they attacked an army post near the commercial capital, Bosasso.

The mountain raid was the first time Puntland's forces have clashed with al-Shabab, analysts say.

The al-Qaeda-linked group controls much of southern and central Somalia.

At least two members of Puntland's security forces were also killed in the clashes in the mountains near Galgalo.

Puntland is semi-autonomous from the rest of Somalia but is allied to the embattled, UN-backed government in Mogadishu.

The Puntland authorities have recently rounded up and deported hundreds of young men in Bosasso and sent them to Mogadishu, accusing them of being al-Shabab sympathisers.

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