It is bordered by the Somali regions of Sanaag and Sool to the west, Nugal to the south, the Gulf of Aden to the north and the Indian Ocean to the east. It is located the tip of horn of Africa .

The Islamic State’s branch in Somalia is reportedly in control of the northern port town of Qandala after fighting with the local Puntland forces. Qandala sits in Somalia’s northeastern Bari Province, but is under the rule of the autonomous region of Puntland. African Union forces are not deployed in that region.

On 26 October, more than 50 heavily-armed Somali Islamic State (IS) fighters seized the town of Qandala in Puntland federal state. It was a small, but highly symbolic, step forward for the group and demonstrates again how armed extremists exploit state disorder and local tensions to develop safe havens and rebuild after defeats. Unless Puntland treats this threat seriously and resolves internal tensions and conflicts with neighbouring federal states, IS in Somalia could grow in strength and destabilise much larger parts of the country.