Somalia's Puntland sends troops to fight Al-Shabaab
Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland said on Friday it had sent forces to the neighbouring region of Galmudug to help the military there push Al-Shabaab Islamist militants out of a strategic town they captured last month.
Al-Shabaab fighters last month attacked a military base in the Galmudug town of Amara and took control of it after battling with government special force units, known as Danab and Darawish.
Amara is a strategic town that lies on the route to the coastal town of Harardheere, another Al-Shabaab stronghold.
The governor of Puntland's Mudug region, Abdilatif Muse Nuru San Yare, told Reuters they had sent troops with experience in fighting Al-Shabaab to Galmudug.
"We have sent troops to Galmudug who know how to fight Al-Shabaab and it is an alliance to eradicate Al-Shabaab," Yare said. He did not say how many troops had been sent.
Al-Shabaab has been fighting in Somalia for years in an attempt to topple the central government and establish its own rule based on its strict interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law.
The group often carries out gun and bomb attacks targeting both military and civilians targets.
"Since Puntland....has experience in fighting al Shabaab, we have asked them to help us expel Al Shabaab," Galmudug's Deputy Security Minister, Abdulahi Abdisalan, told Reuters.