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Somalia

New government offensive in north Somalia

Security forces in the autonomous Puntland region of Somalia launched a new offensive against rebels on Sunday, in which at least seven people died. The operation targeted the several hundred fighters led by local warlord Mohamed Said Atom.

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Fighting took place in the Sanaag region on the frontier between Puntland and Somaliland, and is reported to have lasted around four hours.

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"We have attacked their bases and took control of their barracks. Our forces are now in full control of the Galgala Mountains and the enemy fled the area suffering heavy losses," Puntland Security Minister Yusuf Ahmed Qeyr told reporters.

Several members of the militia were killed and others taken prisoner, Qeyr said, without giving details of casualties on the security forces' side.

The offensive follows a similar attack on Mohamed Said Atom's militia on 26 July.

The warlord has been singled out by the UN Security Council for violating an arms embargo, and is believed to be a key supplier of arms to the Shebab group that controls large parts of southern and central Somalia.

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