Al-Shabaab Attack on Puntland Army Base Leaves Scores Dead

Shabaab fighters overran a military base in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland

Heavy losses reported as Somalia's Puntland forces attacked by Al-Shabab forces.
Heavy losses reported as Somalia’s Puntland forces were attacked by Al-Shabab militants.


At least 50 people, including three senior military officers, were killed Thursday when al-Shabab attacked a military base in the semi-autonomous Puntland region, military officials and witnesses told VOA. Those sources said the dead include at least 45 Puntland soldiers and five al-Shabab militants.

The Puntland security minister, Abdi Hirsi Ali, has disputed reports of heavy military losses. He told reporters that most of the casualties are civilians.

The assault started with a heavy gun battle that ran for more than two hours, according to witnesses in the village of Af-Urur in the Bari region.

“Our forces are at the receiving end of a heavy attack. I’m on my way now. The communication is down, so I can’t tell you more,” the regional commanding officer, Colonel Abdullahi Omar Anshour, told VOA as residents reported plumes of smoke rising over the base.

Al-Shabab militants claimed to have overrun the base, killing more than 61 Puntland soldiers, although a Puntland military source told VOA their forces retreated from the camp for “tactical reasons’ before launching a counter-assault and retaking it.

The militants destroyed part of the base and burned dozens of military vehicles, witnesses said. Witnesses also told VOA that more than 20 soldiers wounded in the attack were transported to a nearby Armo town.

Af-Urur is a camp for a contingent of the Darawish, a paramilitary force in Puntland that has been fighting al-Shabab in the Galgala Mountains. The militant group attacked the same camp in January this year when the regional forces fiercely defended it killing nine militants.

Puntland is relatively stable region compared to the southern and central parts of Somalia. But the regional forces have not been able to completely wrest the Galgala Mountains from an al-Shabab force reported to number several hundred fighters.

Security officials in Somalia believe Galgala serves as a strategic link for al-Shabab connecting militants in southern Somalia with al-Qaida militants in Yemen.

46 thoughts on “Al-Shabaab Attack on Puntland Army Base Leaves Scores Dead

    1. Yes it was yesterday at the outskirts of Mogadishu. They were not protesting against AMISOM or against government but protesting of the killing of shopkeeper by the NISA, Somali security agency after they arrested him for questioning and killed him in extra-judicial manner. People blocked the road. AMISOM happened to pass there and it was natural due to their anger to throw stones at them. People were demanding government to arrest intelligence chief in that area.

      1. It is a stadium. It was constructed to control the sports crowd not for president security. It was there for many years.

    1. A president suffering from severe mental illness is what I see.

      Where is World Health Organisation when you need it?

      Please Mr. Tedros, do your job, don’t just watch this mentally ill man hugging the fence thinking the fence is his wife.

        1. Dr. Walter

          You are stinking Hawiye clan donkey. Darood clan will ride his Hawiye donkey forever. Keep crying mooryaan boy. You will hand over your weapons wether you like it or not.

    1. Like forgetting to put the landing gear down! Down Down Amisom?? I don’t know, or a prez. In a cage? Out there…indeed.

  1. I despair of somalia and its people, while Kenya and Ethiopia are trying their best to disintegrate somalia; it appears to me that Somalis are complicit in destroying their land, perhaps soon Africa will have one less country hence Somalis are not concerned losing their ancestral land is it because they are nomads they make their home wherever they go??!

    1. If Somalis make their home where they go and do not defend their land how do you think they survived and lived in that part of the Horn region for centuries and actually a vast land. Please do not be emotional. Many nations face difficulties in their history and the cause of the war here is not the Somalis. It will help if you study the situation closely. Somalis have done and have proven to survive a massive onslaught by major power for the past 27 years. Under the circumstance we have done well and in many sectors have thrived.

      1. Dear Mohamed, I am not talking about centuries old history, I do agree many nations face difficulties, as an Eritrean, Eritrea is one of them but at least Eritreans got their independence and somehow they are foiling different powerful nations onslaught led by the USA and this by all means does not mean Eritrea is in good place but the people cohesively are able to ward off and have foiled any threat from Ethiopia.

        I am concerned about somalia NOW!!! the country is divided into 3 entities namely Somali Land, Punt Land and well small Somalia, where al-shabab roams or Mogadishu, where the mayor aka Farmajo resides!! to the delight of Ethiopian and Kenyan rulers. There ought to be less friction amongst Somalis because they share the same religion, language, culture and only a minor clan divisions, if with this kind solid history and background, if Somalis can not come together to see off their enemies , I wonder who can??!!!

        1. Even if we talk about today’s history do not only see the negative side but also see the progress. I do not things we Somalis fighting many foreign invasions with different disguise since 1991 is ancient history. The struggle continues. Also, the divisions you are talking about is amplified by foreigners in their limited understanding of the situation. The entities like Shabaab are foreign created like Al qaida and ISIS. It is like you saying oh Iraqis, the cradle of civilization why are you fighting, you fools. If you talk about having same culture and religion let me ask you why did you fight Ethiopia who you share everything to separate from them? Why you do not reunite with Ethiopia which you share many things to create a greater nation? My friend things are not as simple as you put.

          Remember your struggle took 30 years so what will you say for example if in 1980 a Somali guy comes to you and say you Eritreans are doomed and are fools to fight on as you are also fighting each other as ELF and EPLF.

          I will say see things from broader perspective and closely analyze the facts. Things have nothing to do with culture, religions and ethnicity. It is geopolitical games of which so happens we are one of the nations entangled in it today. Do not only see or analyze from today’s position. In my analysis I for see great difficulties for the Horn in the near future including your country.

          1. Ok, as you see it, please help explain what will the end of all this madness in Somalia is going to look like? Also, Do you think the old Somalia will re-emerge again, say within 15 years? Thanks in advance.

          2. Answer:

            The old Somalia will not return because its main ideological goal was the idea of “liebens raum” or greater Somalia comprising of Djibouti(1), Somaliland(2), Somalia(3), Somali region of Ethiopia(4) and Somali region of Kenya(NFD)-(5). Somalia went to war with Kenya 1964 and Ethiopia 1977 over this idea and Djibouti opted out of the Greater Somalia idea and declared independence in 1977.

            So while the government in Mogadishu Somalia is still convinced that this Greater Somalia is a feasible idea the other four parts don’t want any part of it.

            So the end game or stabilisation of the Somali Penninsula will happen when the last part(Somaliland) gains its independence and then at long last Somalia will wake up and realise Greater Somalia is dead and Somalia needs to get its act together.

          3. How much blood money do the few secessionists offer you? That shop will be closed very soon and Syria is closing maybe you will move to the new theater the Gulf.

          4. All wars either end in one side victory or reconciliation. For Somalia I foresee a mixture led by the government in Mogadishu. The end is reunited and one Somalia because only the state was affected by the war not the nation. Our nationhood is older than our statehood. This is one thing foreigners forget. Our people are mixed and share everything even though the war continues which is limited to power grab, imported extremism and foreign meddling. And now the state is rebuilding and getting stronger in relative towards the opposition. Time frame I give you within five years or even earlier say 3 years if somethings I know come to pass in the next few months. Don’t ask me.

            You will seem skeptic but I will only say its like when Assad government was surrounded and it made turn around because beside foreign support the opposition is bankrupt ideologically and does not provide hope to the people. The important thing is not the foreign support but what you offer to your supporters ideologically and benefits which matters at the end of the day. The struggle continues and hold on to your hat.

          5. Mahamed, don’t be so defensive.

            1. Eritreans, have nothing but good wishes for Somalia and Somalis!

            2. You’ve forgotten the chronology. Let me explain.

            Somalia got its independence in the ’60’s, while Eritrea was denied it at the start of the same decade. You guys had, 30 years, to come to cohesion and stability.

            3. Somalis, are homogenous.

            Same- religion, language etc, while Eritrea has 9 tribes, with same number of languages.

            Plus, Eritrea is 50-50%, christian and muslim.

            4. Eritrea, defeated Ethiopia. A country 20 times its size, with more than 20 times its population, aided by the USA and the Soviets respectively, for 30 years.

            Just to give a perspective but not, in any way, to diminish the struggle or the suffering of the somali people.

          6. I am not defending and you are comparing an apple to an orange. Each nation has different path. That is your struggle and ours is different. In Africa some countries started with stability and now are in chaos and those who started with chaos are stable now. I am saying to you we are taking our path however long it takes. I do not believe Eritreans are hostile to us but our natural and strategic ally. Cool down and have one cup of Eritrean traditional coffee. Enjoy

          7. Mo in 1991 somalis set out to to topple Siad Barre in the process they ended up killing each other resulting different actors claiming their own bastion this is regardless who created them foreign or home made al shabaab are roaming every somali corner, Somali land are saying they are free country, Punt land is there as well leaving the Mayor of Mogadishu to occupy a dilapidated palace in the corner.

            As for similarity between Ethiopia and Eritrea is minimal comparing to somalis.

            Broteh Mo during our struggle Somalis, Iraqis, syrians etc branded us war mongers, so…1

            Brother Mo when you look into geopolitical the only purpose of this is to dismantle Somalia so it won’t become a threat to Ethiopia and Kenya no other geo play here.

            In your analysis it is better to admit mistakes being done and no one is there to correct them as somalis are making their home wherever they go. As from me I leave it to Allah to herald whatever he/she for the future, perhaps prosperity and peace!!!!

          1. Confirmed death toll in the now infamous Af Urur attack is 80 Puntland soldiers. The confirmed number of wounded is 50 according to reliable Somali sources.

            The best solution is for Amisom to enter Puntland.

          2. Puntlant can’t figure out where this AL SHABAAB group got its weapons from and what their routes of entry are. This in turn has lead to panic in Puntland and Puntland blaming other Somalis in Southern Somalia as being terrorist infiltrators. We must calm down and not pani and kill southerns somalian people.

          3. AMISOM…lolz. AMISOM cannot protect itself how can they help Puntland. Mr. Kiruki do you remember El Adde and Kulbiyow (2 times). Man wake up from your daydream.

          4. The planned Puntland offensive in the Galgala mountains is shaping up to be a disaster. Would not be surprised to see AL SHABAAB making further spectacular attacks on the Puntland troops. It has after all been their modus operandi to strike twice(el adde attack then kulbiyu attack on the Kenyan’s)

          5. The town of Bosaso, Puntland’s main port is in a precarious situation. It is virtually surrounded on all sides by either Daish Isis or Al shabaab.

            The string of attacks and assasinations inside the town are likely to increase in scope and frequency. Puntland is in a downwards trajectory on all fronts. Puntland’s deflection and blame game serves to calm the population but the truth remains that Puntland elements are the source of the insurgency to topple the current leadership.

    1. The day before yesterday Somali foreign ministry in a press statement made clear Somali government position of neutrality in gulf dispute. Somalia has strong relations with both nations and its best to keep neutral. Somali politics has changed in the last election and like with Iran issue it cannot buy Somalia. By the way, this meeting was long scheduled after President visited Saudia earlier. If Saudia wants to dictate our foreign policy with its money I say keep it.

      1. Somalia does not need UAE and Saudi Arabia. They need Somalia.

        Somalia will do what is best for Somalia, this is not time of Arab stooge president of Somalia Hassan Sheekh Mahmuud now Somalia have nationalist president his excellency Farmaajo who does not take orders from enemies of Somalia like Ethiopia Kenya Saudi Arabia UAE.

  2. ኣሌክ - Alec you · Edit

    Its just round and round we go. This sh* t just keep repeating over and over. What Somalia needs now is a clean slate ==>> an arm struggle, by the sons and daughters of Somalia… Liberate ur land and free ur ppl from foreign oppressors just like what Eritrea did in the time of struggle. If Somalian ppl work together, u can do anything… It doesn’t matter if it takes 30yrs, if it means controlling ur destiny???????????????????????????????? And the losers will be Ethiopia and its handlers.

      1. ኣሌክ - Alec you · Edit

        Yes, u are right brother Mahamed… this time Somalian ppl will never sit idle while their country’s image is getting destroyed by foreigners. I hope a new struggle with the ppl by the ppl will get/be born soon to free Somalia and return it to its former glory☝????️????????✊????????????

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