African military support for the fledgling Somali government in Mogadishu has pushed al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida sympathizer, further to the north. The militant group had said it wants to consolidate its position in Puntland, an autonomous region, by ousting the regional president.
Regional Gov. Abdisamad Gallan told the BBC that authorities in the region intercepted a boat load of land mines from sympathizers in Yemen. The British broadcaster says the weapons cache was one of the largest seized in recent history.
The development follows the endorsement by Somali lawmakers of Abdi Farah Shirdon as the country's next prime minister. Similar developments in Mogadishu laid the political foundation for a country that's lacked a formal central government since 1991.
August Mahiga, U.N. special envoy to Somalia, said this week there was "little time to waste" in securing the country's political gains.
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