The Federal government has dispatched two airplanes with heavy weaponry to the semi autonomous state of Puntland to reinforce the local forces in the ongoing clash with Al-Shabaab militants who are alleged to be affiliated to ISIL.
Following a cabinet approval Thursday, Information Minister Mohamad Abdi Hayir said the federal government provided one plane while the United Arab Emirates provider another.
The deployment of military support to Puntland follows three days of clashes between Puntland forces and Al-Shabaab militants who briefly seized the coastal town of Gara’ad Tuesday before they were flushed by Puntland troops.
Puntland indicated Wednesday it had killed more than 20 Al-Shabaab fighters who were reported to be associated with Islamic State of the Levant and Iraq, ISIL. The militants are said to have tried to head to Galgala mountains in Bari region where the ISIL de facto leader in Somalia Abdulkadir Mumin announced last year the group’s allegiance to ISIL.
Meanwhile Puntland president Abdiwali Gaas has denied the Federal government was complicit in the clash supporting Al-Shabaab in its bid to coerce his state into backing the 4.5 electoral model adopted in January.
Puntland security minister Abdi Hersi Ali Tuesday said the federal government was intent on forcing them to accept the model by sponsoring Al-Shabaab to attack some parts of the state.
Puntland does not fall within the province of AMISOM operation and has largely been dependent of local security forces but it has generally not been hit by Al-Shabaab attacks. However its forces clashed with the militant group last year in Galgala mountain ranges.