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who said the place is safer now

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    MOGADISHU (Reuters) - A roadside bomb killed three soldiers and injured nine others in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region, an eyewitness said on Tuesday.
    The bomb hit a vehicle carrying troops on a routine patrol on Monday night on the main street of Bossaso, a port in the northern region.

    "The vehicle was totally destroyed ... blood was on the ground. Three soldiers died on the spot," eyewitness Abdiqadir Farah told Reuters.

    Puntland has been relatively stable compared with the rest of Somalia. However, violence and insecurity have risen in recent months and the region is also a major base for pirates who have been causing havoc to shipping off the Horn of Africa.

    The soldiers take orders from Puntland authorities rather than from the Somali government which controls only part of the capital, Mogadishu. Puntland officials could not be reached for comment on Monday's incident.

    Experts say Puntland is also home to organised criminals, including money counterfeiters and human traffickers.

    Last month unidentified gunmen shot dead a judge who had jailed pirates and members of a hardline rebel group. A local member of parliament was also killed in a separate attack.

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