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Death toll in al-Shabaab attack in Puntland rises

The number of dead from an attack on a military base in Somalia’s Puntland has risen to 59, a military officer said.

FILE:  Picture: UN Photo.

BOSASO - The number of dead from an attack on a military base in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region has risen to 59 from an earlier reported 38, a military officer said on Saturday.

In the attack on Thursday al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab fighters overran the base in Af Urur, a town about 100km south of Bosaso.

“We confirm that the total number of deaths is 59, including six women, and the total number of injuries is 38,” Major Mohamed Abdi, a Puntland military officer, told Reuters by phone.

Af Urur lies near the Galgala hills, an area controlled by al-Shabaab. Its fighters have attacked and captured the town several times.

Somalia’s president said the country’s army was in “hot pursuit” of the fighters after the attack.

Al-Shabaab regularly launches attacks in Somalia, but often focuses on the capital Mogadishu and other regions controlled by the federal government. It aims to drive out African Union peacekeepers, topple Somalia’s Western-backed government and impose its strict version of Islam.

The group rarely carries out attacks in Puntland.

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