Al-Shabab fighters storm military base in Somalia

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"Now we confirm 38 people, mostly soldiers, died and 18 others were wounded. I believe some were captured alive and taken away", Major Mohamed Abdi, a Puntland military officer said.

"The militants also suffered heavy casualties and they have lost many of their fighters", he added. He estimated that at least 100 fighters were involved in the attack.

Residents in the area reported chaotic scenes, with fighters beheading several civilians they encountered. The attack is being seen as retaliation to the recent death sentence granted to five al-Shabab fighters, who were found driving a truck laden with explosives through the region's biggest city, Bosaso, in late April.

GAROWE, Somalia- The government of Somalia's northeastern region of Puntland has spoke about the deadly al-Shabaab attack on a military camp in Af-Urur area, in Bari region on Thursday morning, Garowe Online reports.

He refuted al-Shabaab claims of killing 61 Puntland Defense forces in the attack. "We just left it peacefully after killing 61 soldiers and capturing 16 military cars", he said.

"The number could rise since the operation is still underway", Abdiasis AMusab, Al-Shabaab's military spokesman said in a statement.

Al-Shabab a year ago became the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa, with more than 4,200 people killed in 2016, according to the Washington-based Africa Center for Strategic Studies. It aims to drive out African Union peacekeepers, topple the Western-backed government and impose its strict version of Islam. Security sources say a small contingent of foreigners is there as well.

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