Galgala campaign

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Galgala Campaign
Part of Somali Civil War, War in Somalia (2009-present)
Puntland map regions.png
Area under control of Puntland administration as of February 2008
DateAugust 8[2] - October 1, 2014[3]

Puntland victory

Continuation of low level insurgency
Galgala area recaptured by Puntland

Harakat al-Shabaab Mujahideen

Warsangali clan militia[1]


Commanders and leaders
Mohamed Said Atom  Surrendered [4]

Puntland Abdiweli Mohamed Ali
Puntland Colonel Jama Said Warsame "Afguduud"

Puntland General Said Dheere[5]
250[6] hundreds of soldiers[4]
Casualties and losses

96 killed[7]

18 killed[8]
40 wounded[9]
100+ civilians killed[10]
800 people displaced (July–August)[10]

The Galgala campaign was a military campaign autonomous Puntland region of Somalia, that took place periodically from 8 August [2] until 1 October , 2014.[3] It was aimed at re-gaining control of the Galgala hills,[11] which had fallen in hands of al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab commander Sheikh Mohamed Said Atom and his militia.[4][6]


Atom has been involved in smuggling arms from Puntland to al-Shabaab fighters in Southern Somalia[1] and has been implicated in incidents of piracy, kidnapping, and terrorism.[6][12]


The campaign started on 8 August,[2] in response to an al-Shabaab attack on 26 July[3] which left 2 Puntland soldiers dead.[13] In response to the crackdown, al-Shabaab launched several bombings, targeting civilian centers such as the city of Bosaso. The campaign ended when Puntland forces seized the villages of Dhagah Barur, Dhagahdheer, and Dindigle on 17 October. Dindigle was al-Shabaab's last stronghold in the region.[3]

In 2010, 150 of Atom’s men were reported to have defected and joined the Puntland Intelligence Agency.[12] Military sources reported that Atom "‘fled before the Galgala war started’ and left his comrades to face Puntland troops alone."[14] It was believed that Atom had fled to Burao, Somaliland’s second largest city.[14] Burao police chief Abdirahman Fohle conducted raids to look for al-Shabaab linked militants.[15] He denied reports that Atom was hiding in the area, but affirmed that he would arrest "him or anyone else who is a threat to regional security."[15]

On 17 March 2014, the commander of the Puntland Security Forces in Galgala Colonel Jama Said Warsame "Afguduud" was assassinated in the afternoon in a bomb attack at the outskirts of Bosaso. Afguduud together with three of his security guards were rushed to the nearest hospital, however he succumbed to the critical injuries sustained from the attack and died in the hospital. According to Al-Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Dheere the attack was result of a long planned assault.[16]

On 7 June 2014, the Ministry of Information announced that Atom had agreed to defect from Al-Shabaab. According to the Federal government ministry, Atom accused Ahmed Godane, the leader of Al-Shabaab of having a foreign agenda. "I would like to declare that as of today I have decided to resolve my religious and political issues through peaceful means and understanding," Atom said, according to the government.[17]

On 1 October 2014, Puntland forces recaptured the last stronghold of Al-Shabaab in Galgala.[18] According to Abdiweli Hirsi Abdille, the information minister of Puntland, troops had captured the Galgala region in an early morning offensive. The offensive lasted 2 hours, forcing insurgents to retreat.[19]


On 3 October 2014, the Puntland government released a statement accusing Al-Shabaab of having destroyed agricultural communities in Galgala and nearby settlements including historic farms resulting in Internally Displaced People.[20]


  1. ^ a b Somalia's once stable Puntland hit by insurgency, 19 August 2010
  2. ^ a b c "Al Shabaab Rebel Atom 'Hiding in Somaliland' - Report". Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d BBC News Somalia battles al-Shabab for Galgala mountains, October 1, 2014
  4. ^ a b c New York Times Government Forces Fight Militants in Northeast Somalia, August 9, 2010
  5. ^ Garrowe Online Somaliland intensify anti-terror operations in Burao, October 26, 2010
  6. ^ a b c Somali Puntland Forces Attack al-Qaida Linked Militia, 26 July 2010
  7. ^ allafrica Somaliland Silent as 'Foreign Soldiers' Help Capture Militants
  8. ^ Puntland Casualties: [1], [2], [3], [4] Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, [5], [6] Archived 1 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine, [7] Archived 11 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Press TV Dozens killed in Somalia violence, August 21, 2010
  10. ^ a b "SOMALIA: More than 250 troops defect Puntland positions to form clan militia". Archived from the original on 22 February 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
  11. ^ allafrica Somaliland 'Loots' Air Cargo After Plane Makes Emergency Landing, 30 December 2010
  12. ^ a b "Galgala Militia Prepares to Fight Puntland". Somalia Report. Archived from the original on 24 May 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  13. ^ BBC News Puntland forces attack al-Shabab in Somali mountains, 26 July 2010
  14. ^ a b "Al Shabaab rebel Atom 'hiding in Somaliland'". Garowe Online. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011.
  15. ^ a b "Somaliland forces intensify anti-terror operations in Burao". Garowe Online.
  16. ^ "Car bomb kills Puntland's commander for the warfare against Al-shabab Colonel Afgudud". Somalicurrent. Archived from the original on 3 October 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  17. ^ "Somali warlord quits Shebab extremists". Yahoo! News. AFP. Archived from the original on 8 June 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  18. ^ "Puntland forces dislodge Al Shabaab insurgents". Star Africa. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  19. ^ "Somalia battles al-Shabab for Galgala mountains". BBC News. BBC News. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  20. ^ "The Government of Puntland Press Statement Galgala Humanitarian Appeal". Retrieved 3 October 2014.