The military in Somalia’s semi-autonomous state of Puntland have recaptured 87 out of hundreds of prisoners who escaped on Friday after extremist group al-Shabaab fighters stormed a jail and freed them, according a statement from the military.
On Friday al-Shabaab said they had freed 400 prisoners in a raid on the main prison in Bosaso, Puntland’s largest commercial city, in the early hours of Friday.
Seven Puntland military soldiers were also killed in the assault.
“We attacked al-Shabaab militants that had attacked Bosaso central cell (prison),” Puntland military said in a statement.
“In this operation in the hilly areas outside Bosaso, we also recaptured the prisoners.”
Mohamed Abdi, a soldier in Puntland’s military separately told Reuters 87 prisoners had been recaptured and added some of the recaptured prisoners were members of al-Shabaab while others belonged to ISIS.
In the statement, Puntland’s military said they had killed 20 al-Shabaab fighters and captured four alive in a battle to free the prisoners.
Al-Shabaab frequently carries out attacks in Somalia and elsewhere as part of its campaign to oust the central government in Mogadishu and establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.
An African Union (AU)-mandated peacekeeping force AMISOM has been helping defend the central government.
Somalia has been convulsed by lawlessness and extremist violence since 1991 when dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled.