Officials in Somalia's Puntland region say at least 26 people have died in fighting between government soldiers and Islamist insurgents.
Witnesses say Islamist fighters attacked Puntland troops in the Gal Gala area before dawn Wednesday.
The region's minister of security, Yusuf Ahmed Khayr, tells VOA Somali Service that five soldiers were killed and four others wounded.
Khayr says the troops then counter-attacked and killed 21 insurgents. Initial reports said the insurgents had seized control of Gal Gala, but Khayr says the government has re-secured the area.