Saturday, November 10, 2012

Somalia Resistance Fighters Move Into Puntland

Al-Shabab fighters move into Puntland

Fri Nov 9, 2012 4:45PM GMT

Somalia’s al-Shabab fighters are moving north into the semi-autonomous Puntland region after foreign-backed government forces seized their strongholds further south.

Puntland’s President Abdirahman Mohamud Farole has warned that the movement could mean a spill-over of violence into the relatively peaceful area and a major hindrance to ongoing oil exploration projects in the energy-rich region, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Farole made the remarks on the sidelines of a visit by the European Union’s special envoy to Somalia, Michele Cervone d'Urso in Puntland's administrative capital of Garowe on Sunday.

"Their (al-Shabab fighters) presence has intensified since international forces pushed them in the south. The fighters are coming from the south," Farole said.

He was referring to operations carried out by Somali government forces and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) that have stripped al-Shabab of its major strongholds in south-central Somalia.

Under pressure from the UN-mandated troops, the fighters pulled out of the capital, Mogadishu, in August 2011 and lost their last major bastion of Kismayu in September.

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