According to local officials, Al-Shabaab militants attacked and captured the town of Af Urur, located in the semi-autonomous Puntland region, on Thursday, June 8. Al-Shabaab militants reportedly killed at least 61 soldiers in fighting at a military base in the area and seized a number of weapons and vehicles. According to a military spokesperson, fighting is ongoing and as such the death toll will likely rise in the coming hours.
Al-Shabaab continues to control large zones in the south and center of the country and attacks have been on the rise in the northern parts of Somalia, including Puntland, since late 2016. The group often targets government officials and military infrastructure in a bid to topple the Western- and United Nations-backed government and impose its own strict interpretation of Islam in Somalia.
Puntland, an arid region of northeast Somalia, declared itself an autonomous state in August 1998 to distance itself from the clan warfare engulfing southern Somalia.
Individuals present in Somalia are advised to avoid the affected area and to monitor developments to the situation.
Due to the high threat of terrorism, individuals present throughout the country are advised to avoid government and institutional buildings as well as political events due to Al-Shabaab's tendency to target political figures and security forces. Because of extremely poor security conditions, travel should only be considered with appropriate security precautions in place.
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