BOSASO (SMN) – The Islamic State-affiliated fighters battle against Al-Shabaab in Puntland for the second in a row as both groups face the brunt of US airstrikes targeting their leaders inside their hideouts.
The fighting was taking place since Saturday night in Dadamale and Quracda located in the mountains of the Bari region, where the two sides have training bases, per local security officials.
The details of the casualties and the reason behind the breakout of the fighting still remain sketchy as Puntland authorities are yet to comment on the rare Al-Shabaab-ISIS skirmish.
The two groups have been competing for dominance in the Bari region and the tax imposed on Bosaso businesses. Their rivalry opens a new front as SNA gains momentum in the current war.
In December 2018, Al-Shabaab declared an offensive, dubbed “Disease Eradication”, it said was aimed at getting rid of ISIS-linked militants in Somalia’s Puntland region’s hills.
The feud simmered since ex-Al-Shabaab preacher Abdulkadir Mumin announced the ISIS branch in Somalia on in October 2015 and pledged allegiance to slain Abubakar Al-Baqdadi.
ISIS faction found a foothold in Puntland state, where it began recruiting former al-Shabab fighters who wanted to join Mumin, a Somali-British jihadist, who is now on US-wanted list.