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Puntland forces claim victory against Shabaab in the 'Tora Bora of East Africa'


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Long War Journal:

Bill Roggio
August 10, 2010

Security forces under the command of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland in northern Somalia claimed to have defeated Shabaab and driven the al Qaeda-linked group from an area that has been described as the Tora Bora of East Africa.

Puntland forces launched the operation against Shabaab fighters under the command of Mohammed Said Atom in the Galgala Mountains region in late July.

"We have attacked their bases and chase them away," Puntland Security Minister Yusuf Ahmed Qeyr told Garowe two days ago. "Our forces are now in full control of the Galgala Mountains and the enemy suffered heavy casualties."

Qeyr did not give an estimate of Shabaab casualties, but one commander claimed that the bodies of 11 terrorists were found, while three soldiers were killed. Another report claimed that "dozens" of Shabaab fighters were killed. Shabaab commander Atom has not been reported as killed or captured in the fighting.

Local Puntland officials said Atom's bases in the mountainous region in the province of Sanaag are "like Tora Bora in Afghanistan," with cave complexes and training camps [see AFP report, Fears of a new Tora Bora in northern Somalia]. In 2002, al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden battled against US Special Forces and Afghan militias in the Tora Bora mountain complex in Nangarhar in eastern Afghanistan.

Atom denies links to Shabaab
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