Al-Shabaab kidnaps 30 people in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Al-Shabaab militants have reportedly kidnapped at least 30 locals, in the latest heightened activities by the group, which has wreaked havoc in the country, following military operations which left thousands of the group members dead in the first seven months of Hassan Sheikh's administration.
According to multiple sources, the group rounded and kidnapped 30 people in newly liberated village of Daru Nicma within Ruun-Nirigood District in Middle Shabelle. It is within Middle Shabelle and parts of Galmadug where the Somali National Army [SNA] with assistance of international partners conducted the first phase of operations against the group.
Those kidnapped by the group, sources said, were mainly traditional elders and children but it is not clear where the militants took them. In most cases, the militants abduct locals in exchange for ransom, but so far, the militants are yet to communicate through their formal channels.
But more surprisingly is abduction of elders who have for a long time enjoyed immunity from the Al-Shabaab, and have often negotiated for the release of kidnapped civilians whether locals or foreigners. In recent weeks, the Al-Shabaab militants have increased activities in the federal republic of Somalia.
For instance, the group raided Uganda People's Defense Forces [UPDF] base in Bulo Marer killing at least 54 soldiers before attempting to run over an Ethiopian military base in Dolow. Days later, records show, Al-Shabaab attacked Pearl Hotel within Mogadishu, killing over nine people including members of the army.
Across the borders, Al-Shabaab have been targeting security forces from the neighboring Kenya particularly in Mandera, Wajir, Garissa and Lamu counties. But in response, the militants have suffered casualties following the most recent airstrikes by the US Africa Command and Kenya Defence Forces [KDF].
This is not the first time the militants are abducting locals. In 2018, Al-Shabaab militants abducted nearly 30 people including elders, blew up a water well in El-Muluq near Adale, Middle Shabelle region. Sources said the militants attacked the village accusing it of supporting Ma’awisley, the self-organised anti-Shabaab fighters.
Al-Shabaab militants are under immense pressure from the army and mobilized locals who have vowed to crush the group completely from Somalia. The group has been fighting to topple the fragile UN-backed federal government of Somalia, but the resistance from armed forces has often saved the situation.