Somalia’s al Qaeda-linked militants are moving north into the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, long regarded as a relatively peaceful area, after having been squeezed out of their strongholds further south, the president of Puntland said.

Until now, Puntland has largely escaped the worst of the upheaval in Somalia, which has been deprived of an effective central government for the past two decades.

The region is rich in energy resources and oil exploration companies are sizing it up. If the militants were able to establish a permanent presence in the area, it might discourage such exploration efforts.

Although militant numbers are still limited, the authorities fear al Shabaab could gain better access to weapons coming across the Gulf of Aden if it successfully regrouped in the area.

“Their presence has intensified since international forces pushed them in the south. The fighters are coming from the south,” Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamud Farole told Reuters at the weekend.

“We believe that there are … more than 400 (fighters) in those areas,” he said in Garowe, Puntland’s administrative capital, on the sidelines of a visit by the European Union ambassador to Somalia during which a $200 million aid package was announced.

Under pressure from African Union (AMISOM) peacekeeping troops and Somali government forces, al Shabaab has lost many of its major urban strongholds in south-central Somalia since it launched a rebellion against the Western-backed government in 2007.

The rebels, who want to impose their strict interpretation of sharia Islamic law across the Horn of Africa state, withdrew from the capital Mogadishu in August last year and lost their last major bastion of Kismayu six weeks ago.

Farole said most of the fighters have taken up positions in the mountains west of Bossaso, an area that is hard to reach because of its difficult terrain.


Farole said the authorities had captured two shipments of explosives from Yemen in the past few months. In the most recent seizure, the boat had been laden with rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank mines and other munitions.

The incident raised concern about possible cooperation between Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al Shabaab, which formally merged with al Qaeda earlier this year.

“It was enough to destroy Puntland,” Farole told Reuters in the courtyard of the main government house where Somalia and Puntland’s flags were displayed.

“It is easy to ship arms and ammunition and explosives (from) that area,” said Farole, who believes AQAP and al Shabaab share links.

Farole said he needed international help to train and equip his security forces, lamenting how such support was focused solely on the Mogadishu government to help it fight al Shabaab.

The EU’s special envoy to Somalia, Michele Cervone d’Urso, said he was worried about the security situation in Puntland.

“While AMISOM is advancing in the south, al Shabaab has not been defeated … they have been moving to other areas, including the mountainous areas of Puntland,” he said.

“There are significant areas of Puntland which are difficult to control for these security forces, that’s the main challenge there and hence they’re able to find specific areas (that are) potential safe havens,” he said.

Since withdrawing from most of the territory they used to control, al Shabaab has resorted to asymmetrical warfare tactics, and has launched deadly suicide and car bomb attacks across Somalia. (Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by James Macharia and Andrew Osborn).



  1. What goes around comes aroung…Nothing new here, This tribal enclave, Puntland has been doing everything wrong since 1998. alienating and depriving some of its citizens economically and politically like the Warsangali in eastern puntland and other minorities using the tribal card. Freedom of speech is essentially none existent. Not to mentioned that piracy has been left unchecked and corruption is so deep because of the fact that crime and piracy were allowed to go on for so long. Don't forget Puntland has also been engaged in sabotaging the hard earn peace in its neighbor, Somaliland by encouraging ill-informed militias to destabilize the region for territorial gains again using tribal card. It has been active in assisting its Darood affiliates in Kismayo who were supporting and 100% behind Alshebabe, which is why they all of sudden they decided to send troops to help their Ogadeen and Majeereen country men after the AU and Somali troops started to invade Kismayo. They have been the cause of Somalia's problems and have been benefiting from its demise. I wouldn't be surprised that they struck a deal with alshebabe to harbor them. or whether this is simply a fall out of their bad policies or political game.

    • you are absolutely right madam, us irir folks should form a united front to eliminate the darood scum once and for good

    • The fake harbargidir girl.

      NO need to worry Puntalnd will handle anything They are big strong boys.if They manage to stablish stable beaceful state while hawiye loote distroy public schools,hospitals Than for Them al-shabab is piece of cake.Hawiye are The camouflage one minute al-shabab next warlord.

      All This allegation sabotage piracy are false.kismayo will lead people inhabit That region no way mogadishu tell Them what to do.The troops liberated kismayo are all local people supported by AU and UN.

    • "This tribal enclave, Puntland has been doing everything wrong since 1998" oh really and this is coming from a Hawiye who destroyed the infrastructure of what used to be one of east Africa's best cities. The same people who dismantle the city's piping systems and electrical cables in order to sell them to the black market your people even ruined the paved roads thus turning xamar into a shanty town. The same people who committed looting, mass murder, rape, and dragged dead bodies across the streets of xamar. The same people who invaded and occupied other clan's lands such as Baidoa and Marka. I am clad reer Badao and reer Marka fought back and kicked Hawiye animals out of their homelands. Puntland is not perfect but it is a million time better than your chaotic cannibalism land. Without outside help and with little resources we Majerteen managed to build an administration and law and order and preserved peace and unity in our region. Your people on the other hand have been given every possible chance by the international community to form a government and peace but for over 20 years you have been killing each other and can not solve basic problems. It burns you to see us live in peace and thriving while your people keep digging the same hole you're suppose to get out of. It is not our fault that your people lack intelligent and problem solving skills.

      • Farther more Hawiye created the environment that gave birth to insecurity, warlordism, clan militia check points, and extremism/terrorism by destroying and looting the country's institutions and civil service capacity in 1991. Hawiye are clearly unfit to govern a country they can't even govern their own land they need 20,000 AU troops for security and you have the guts to talk trash against a group of people who are light years ahead of your people.

  2. This is nothing more but a scare tactics being used by none other than Mr taxi man Faroole
    against the West to fund not even the Puntland army put his private mercenary.

    Are Shabaab in Puntland YES but do they cause panic NO because to do that they need the genuine
    support of the tribes living there which they don't.

    Shabaab got powerful in the South because of the people living there and is the sole reason they're
    losing not because of this AMISOM people like you to believe.

    The evidence is them vacating or what they call tactical retreating ever since the end of 2011 every time AMISOM approached them before that they were literally meters away from taking Villa Somalia

    • To make for you LONG story short if al-shabab move to Puntland Then The rest of world will go There and help PUNTLAND,but i doubt The AU will send troops ACCEPT logistic since Puntland arm forces are well discipline not like mooryan in mogadishu and hargeisa millitia.

      • What your pirate army lol

        Ever since the pirates started having hard time catching fish in the sea has anyone else also
        noticed how Puntland started to crumble financially ?

      • those few skinny black dar00ds are not even armed so how can you call them an army. the moory@ns are even better trained then those khat smoking skinny dar00ds


  4. I doubt the the accuracy of this news. Al Shabab does not have bases outside of South and south central Somalia.

  5. Faroole himself financed elements of shabab. There are strong indications that Faroole had direct links with Shabab through two individuals.

    – Sheik Atom was the main importer of weapons for shabab through the Bossasso port and this could only occur with the blessing of the administration in Gerowe.

    -Fuad Shangole is another liaison between Gerowe and Shabab.

    It was no accident shangole was attacked in a Mosque while in southern somalia at the same time Sheik Atom was under siege from ilkojiir and faroole in the galgala mountains. Shabab was created in Galkaciyo in 1993 originally named al-itihaad. Follwoing ongoing rift between Gerowe administration then based in Bossasso and Sheik Dahir Caweys they parted company and shabab migrated south with the blessing their main financiers and weapons suppliers in Majeertenia.

    • Do you have any evidence that Atom received weapons from Bosaso port or that president Farole has ties with sabab? or are you only fabricating lies out of tribal hatred? I think the latter is more accurate.
      In fact there are credible evidence proving that Atom terror network has ties with the Hargaysa regime.
      During the battle of Galgala dozens of isaaq clans man fought side by side with Atom terror group and when they were both defeated by Puntland forces they fled to Burco and other towns deep in SL territory.
      "Fuad Shangole is another liaison between Gerowe and Shabab". This is the funnies line in your comment. Dude shabab sees PL as an enemy and has assassinated many PL leaders and carried out many bombings in PL.
      "Shabab was created in Galkaciyo in 1993 originally named al-itihaad" Again you are not telling the truth shabab was created in 2006 in Mogadishu after Islamic court union was defunct. My goodness you isaaqs are so desperate you'll even rewrite recent history. Do you think we were born yesterday?.

      • By the way the top number one leader of the biggest terror org in Somalia ( Al shabab) is led by non other than Hargaysa native isaaq man called Ahmed Gadone who is responsible for countless assassinations, suicide bombings, and displacing south Somalis from their homes and turning them into refugees. I am sorry my friend but the evidence is against you.

  6. let them give rough road to "somaliland". let them fight the terrorists. we will find out if their siad barre equipment is still working kkkkkkkkkkkkk

  7. The WAR PLANES that the world gave puntland in the last years isn’t enough. They should also provide Warships, and surveillance intelligence to Puntland to defeat piracy and terrorism.

  8. This is nothing short of a misleading tactic on Taxi driver Farole's behave. He wants to delay the "elections" and crash his opponents under the al Shabab/terrorism card.

    Osman Mohamud and Omar be warned.