30 Die As Villagers, Al-Shabaab Fighters Clash In Somalia

FILE – In this Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 file photo, hundreds of newly trained al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises in the Lafofe area some 18 km south of Mogadishu, in Somalia. President Donald Trump’s approval of greater U.S. military authority to pursue al-Qaida-linked extremists in Somalia will put civilians further at risk, experts say, especially as drought displaces thousands of people in areas that now will be considered a war zone. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh, File)

No fewer than 30 people have died in a clash between villagers and al-Shabab fighters in central Somalia, reports say.

Osman Isse Nur, a spokesman for authorities in the Galmudug region, on Saturday said the dead, include 16 militants killed in the Shabeelow village.

The villagers were said to have taken up arms against the terrorists when they invaded their village.

“Armed villagers opted to fight militants to defend their livestock animals from the terrorists,” Osman added.

In Galkayo, 14 villagers were killed and many others were hospitalised after five hours of fierce battle

Abdi Siyaad, a local elder, said villagers are engaging in self-defence against the “brutality” and intimidation by al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-linked armed group which has de facto control over large parts of southern and central Somalia.

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“They have been mounting pressure on locals living in Shabeelow in Mudug in order to force them [to] surrender their arms and livestock animals for many years. Locals are tired of the group’s pressure under the pretext of the context of the so-called holy war,” said the elder.

He asked the Somali government to provide weapons so villagers can defend themselves.

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