World Bulletin / News Desk
At least seven Al-Shabaab fighters and two government soldiers were killed on Monday during an army offensive against the group's main base in Somalia's Galgala Mountains region.
"Puntland forces targeted Diine Digle, where Al-Shabab has a military base," Abdulkadir Sumaysane, a Puntland government official, told The Anadolu Agency.
"We have now captured the base from the terrorists," he said.
Puntland is a semi-autonomous region in northern Somalia.
"Our soldiers killed seven of them [Al-Shabaab militants]. We lost two soldiers and two others were injured," said Sumaysane.
The army offensive was launched on Sunday.
The insurgent group, for its part, claimed on its Andalus radio station and website to have killed four government soldiers.
The claim, however, could not be independently verified.
The Al-Qaeda-aligned group has maintained a stronghold in the Galgala Mountains region for several years.
In 2014, Puntland saw an influx of Al-Shabaab fighters fleeing a major offensive by the Somali army and African Union troops that targeted the group's strongholds in southern and central Somalia.
Somalia has remained in the grip of on-again, off-again violence since the outbreak of civil war in 1991.
Earlier this year, fractious Somalia appeared to inch closer to stability after government troops and African Union forces – deployed in the country since 2007 – drove Al-Shabaab from most of its areas of influence.