By Nizar Manek, 10 November 2017
- Foreign militants seen taking shelter in Puntland region
- Faction of up to 200 members has emerged there since 2015
Foreign Islamic State fighters could seek a haven in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region, where a security vacuum has enabled a faction of the group to expand in the past year, United Nations monitors said.
The militant group in northeastern Somalia has “grown significantly in strength” and may have as many as 200 fighters, from a “few dozen” the year before, the UN monitoring group on Somalia said in a Nov. 8 report. The faction seized a port town in Puntland’s Bari region for about six weeks in late 2016 before being driven out by local forces supported by U.S. military advisers and has since carried out asymmetric attacks including on a hotel and a suicide-bombing of a checkpoint, it said.
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