GAROWE (Somaliguardian) – Somalia-based militant group Al-Shabaab has freed 400 prisoners after its fighters attacked a prison in the coastal town of Bosaso in the northeastern semi-autonomous region of Puntland on Thursday night.
The attack took place after midnight on Thursday targeting the city’s main prison where hundreds of people are believed to have been held, many of whom for charges involving terrorism.
Explosions and gunfire were heard across the town as militants and security forces clashed over control of the prison, though fighters of the Al-Qaeda affiliate later entered the jail.
Al-Shabaab said it had carried out the raid and claimed releasing 400 prisoners, among them members of its fighters who had been held in the prison since the reign of former Puntland regional president Abdirahman Farole.
Local security officials who have spoken to media confirmed that prisoners escaped during fighting between militants and regional troops, though some have been later rearrested.
It is the first time Islamists have launched a daring attack on jails in Puntland semi-autonomous region but continue insurgency attacks targeting the town of Bosaso and other cities in the northeastern Somalia state.
One Al-Shabaab inmate escaped in a major prison break incident at Mogadishu’s Central Prison in August last year which resulted in clashes between prisoners and security forces that saw the death of more than 18 people.
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