Somalia’s al Shabaab militants stormed a police station in the country’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland and killed three policemen late on Monday, police said.
Several militants from the Islamist group were also killed during the brief siege of the police station in Yalho village, near the port town of Bosasso, police said.
“Al Shabaab attacked us with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns last night. They briefly captured the station and killed three of my colleagues,” Major Ismail Aden, a local police officer, told Reuters on Tuesday.
“We later came with reinforcement and recaptured the station, and we killed several of the militants,” he said.
Al Shabaab’s military spokesman confirmed the group’s involvement in the attack, and said it had killed five police.
Al Shabaab, which has links to al Qaeda, has frequently carried out attacks in Somalia and neighbouring countries as it seeks to impose its strict interpretation of Islamic law and overthrow the Somali government, which is backed by Western donors and African peacekeepers.
The group, which once controlled Mogadishu and large chunks of territory in other regions, was driven out of the capital in 2011 and has been losing ground since then. But it has continued to launch attacks, including several across the border in Kenya.
“We captured the police station and… we killed five policemen,” the group’s military spokesman, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, told Reuters on Monday.
The militants and local authorities often cite different numbers of casualties.