Islamist group Al-Shabaab attacks army post, kills 12 soldiers in Somalia
December 6, 2012 Markacadeey
Mogadishu: Islamist extremists attacked an army post in northeastern Somalia,
killing 12 soldiers in one of the deadliest attacks in recent months by the
al-Qaeda-linked group, al-Shabaab, an official said on Wednesday.
The attack occurred in Galgala Mountains, in the semi autonomous Puntland
region, where the al-Shabaab rebels are trying to expand their influence.
The militants attacked the post and blew up a roadside bomb on Tuesday night,
killing the soldiers, said a Puntland official, who insisted on anonymity
because he is not authorised to speak to the press.
Al-Shabaab rebels have been pushed out of the cities of southern and central
Somalia by African Union forces. The Somali government says the militants are
consolidating in Galgala.
The rebels' northern flight to the Galgala Mountain comes after months of
increasing pressure from the African Union force, made up of troops from Uganda,
Burundi, Ethiopia and Kenya.
Al-Shabaab this year merged with a Puntland warlord Mohamed Said Atom and
clashed with government forces in Puntland several times. Al-Qaida and al-Shabab
the most powerful Islamist militant group in Somalia merged earlier this year.
Galgala is an ancient mountain town in Puntland has been a key rebel stronghold
for years. Fighters led by former arms trader Atom have been fighting the
Puntland government from bases in the mountains for years.
A 2010 report by the UN accused Atom of importing arms from Yemen and receiving
consignments from Eritrea, including mortars, for delivery to al-Shabaab forces
in southern Somalia.
Atom's supporters say he is fighting for more equitable distribution of revenues
from oil exploration deals with foreign companies.
Puntland authorities have long blamed Atom's group and al-Shabaab for carrying
out bombings and assassinations in their region, but outright assaults on
government positions have been rare.
Al-Shabaab relies on several hundred foreign fighters some with experience in
Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Al-Shabaab formally joined al-Qaeda earlier this
year, and seeks to recruit new soldiers from Somali communities overseas.