Islamic State (IS) militants have taken over the Somali port town of Qandala, in the country’s semi-autonomous Puntland region.
Newsweek reported on Wednesday that following a brief battle with local security forces Qandala, which lies close to the eastern tip of the horn of Africa and is around 50 miles east of Bosaso, one of Somalia’s major cities, fell to the extremists.
“The move marks the first time IS-aligned militants have taken control of a town in the region, Major Saiid Ali,” a Puntland police officer, told Reuters.
Amaq, the semi-official news agency of the IS, also released a statement on Wednesday claiming to have taken over the town.
Al-Qaeda jihadists, who are in competition with the IS and have a heavier presence in the Horn of Africa country than the IS, are also fighting the Western-backed Somali government.
A small faction, led by former Al Shabaab commander and British citizen Abdiqadir Mumin, split off from Al Shabaab in 2015 and declared its allegiance to ISIS, which has its de facto headquarters in Syria, reported Newsweek.