Somali security forces on Sunday said they killed 18 Islamist insurgents during an operation in the northern region of Puntland.

“We killed 18 militants and burnt six of their bases in Galgala hills in an operation over four days to eliminate al Shabaab,” said Colonel Mohamed Ismail, a senior officer in the Puntland Security Force.

“We also took their weapons. We burned their food and medicine stores.”

Al Shabaab, an al-Qaeda- linked insurgent group, in disagreement said that there was a raid but there were no casualties.

“Puntland attacked us today but we repulsed and chased them away. No casualties at all”

Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, the spokesman for al Shabaab’s military wing, said by phone.