Al-Shabaab Kill Six Civilians in Raid on Village

Somalia militants kill six in raid on village they recently lost (News Central TV)

Al-Shabaab militants reportedly carried out a raid on a community in central Somalia on Friday, killing at least six residents after being driven out the previous week.

Since beginning a major offensive in August of last year, the Somalian government and its allied clan militias have driven the militants from vast swaths of land, but al Shabaab has reacted with a series of strikes, including bombs in the capital Mogadishu.

It planted two car bombs in the town of Mahas in central Somalia on Wednesday, resulting in at least 35 fatalities and 40 further injuries.

The community of Hilowle Gaab in Hirshabelle State, which the Somalian army and affiliated militia liberated from al Shabaab last week, was the target of Friday’s raid.

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Hussein Aden, a spokesman for the local clan militia, claimed that the fighters bombed the community with car bombs during morning prayers at around 5am.

He added that among the six casualties were military and militiamen, adding that a gunfight followed after the militants were driven back.

“We were woken by three deafening blasts on the edge of the village, and then a heavy exchange of gunfire followed,” said Mohamed Hussein, a resident of Hilowle Gaab. “Fighting has died down. I do not know how many died.”

Residents and a local legislator denied Al Shabaab’s assertion that it had regained the village and taken military equipment and weapons.

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The African Union and American forces have supported the offensive launched by the Somali army and its allies.

Since 2007, Al Shabaab has been fighting the Somalian government in an effort to impose its rigid interpretation of Islamic law.

Government offensives have previously forced it back, only for it to reorganize and retake territory that the army is unable to retain.

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