Authorities in Somalia’s Puntland region say security forces have destroyed a base belonging to fighters aligned with militant group Islamic State.
Admiral Abdirizak Dirie Farah, the commander of the Puntland Marine Police forces, said police launched an attack Sunday on the base in El Ladid, a village 30 kilometers south of the port town of Qandala.
“During the fighting, we have successfully destroyed the base where the militants were regrouping and making a military buildup,” Farah told VOA’s Somali Service. “We have also discovered and destroyed underground militant survival caches.”
Puntland is a semi-autonomous region in northern Somalia. Last week, Puntland troops regained control of Qandala, the first town the IS-linked militants ever fully controlled in Somalia.
“The militant chose this strategic remote mountainous area (in El Ladid) for their stronghold and hide out and to launch their attacks. Once we got the news about their military build-up we have attacked them, killing four militants, and one of our soldiers was wounded,” said Farah.
The IS faction is led by Abdiqadir Mumin, a former al-Shabab commander and British citizen who broke away from al-Shabab last year and swore allegiance to Islamic State. He is believed to command between 100 and 150 fighters.
His group is not believed to have direct operational links to Islamic State in the Middle East.
Regional security experts believe the group received military supplies from Yemen, and learned from IS trainers who inspected their bases.