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
Date August 8[3] - October 1, 2014[4]
Location Galgala area, Puntland, Somalia
Result 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 [5]

Puntland Abdiweli Mohamed Ali
Puntland Colonel Jama Said Warsame “Afguduud”

Puntland General Said Dheere[6]

Atom militia: 250[7]

 Somaliland: 70[2]
Casualties and losses
96 killed[8]


40 injured[10]

100+ civilians killed[11]

800 people displaced (July–August)[11]

The Galgala campaign was a military campaign autonomous Puntland region of Somalia, that took place periodically from August 8[3] until October 1, 2014.[4] It was aimed at re-gaining control of the Galgala hills,[2] which had fallen in hands of al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab commander Sheikh Mohamed Said Atom and his militia.[5][7]


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.[7][12]


The campaign started on August 8,[3] in response to an al-Shabaab attack on July 26[4] 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 October 17. Dindigle was al-Shabaab's last stronghold in the region.[4]

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 Puntland 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 hospital he was however succumbed to the critical injuries sustained from the attack and died in 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. 1.0 1.1 Somalia's once stable Puntland hit by insurgency, 19 August 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 allafrica Somaliland 'Loots' Air Cargo After Plane Makes Emergency Landing, December 30, 2010
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Al Shabaab Rebel Atom 'Hiding in Somaliland' - Report
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 BBC News Somalia battles al-Shabab for Galgala mountains, October 1, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 New York Times Government Forces Fight Militants in Northeast Somalia, August 9, 2010
  6. Garrowe Online Somaliland intensify anti-terror operations in Burao, October 26, 2010
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Somali Puntland Forces Attack al-Qaida Linked Militia, 26 July 2010
  8. allafrica Somaliland Silent as 'Foreign Soldiers' Help Capture Militants
  9. Puntland Casualties: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7]
  10. Press TV Dozens killed in Somalia violence, August 21, 2010
  11. 11.0 11.1 SOMALIA: More than 250 troops defect Puntland positions to form clan militia
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Galgala Militia Prepares to Fight Puntland". Somalia Report.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. BBC News Puntland forces attack al-Shabab in Somali mountains, July 26, 2010
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Al Shabaab rebel Atom 'hiding in Somaliland'". Garowe Online.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Somaliland forces intensify anti-terror operations in Burao". Garowe Online.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Car bomb kills Puntland's commander for the warfare against Al-shabab Colonel Afgudud". Somalicurrent. Retrieved 3 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Somali warlord quits Shebab extremists". Yahoo! News. AFP. Retrieved 8 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Puntland forces dislodge Al Shabaab insurgents". Star Africa. Retrieved 3 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Somalia battles al-Shabab for Galgala mountains". BBC News. BBC News. Retrieved 3 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "The Government of Puntland Press Statement Galgala Humanitarian Appeal". Retrieved 3 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>