Somalia: Al-Shabaab raids village, kills civilians drilling water well
MOGADISHU, Somalia - At least 12 innocent civilians were killed by Al-Shabaab in the Gedo region, an incident which comes amid an ongoing crackdown against the militants who control rural areas in central and southern Somalia, in a move that could trigger a further crisis.
Police said the 12 civilians were drilling a well in the drought-hit Gedo region within Jubaland state before Al-Shabaab stormed the village and killed them. Somalia is facing the worst drought in as many months according to government reports.
The Friday incident took place in Gariley village between Bardhere and Eelwak districts in the Gedo region, where water well drilling was underway, eyewitnesses said. The militants burnt their bodies to ashes, officials added, while confirming that the militants also destroyed the equipment.
For 40 years, the country has been tackling the worst drought of all time, with the United Nations warning that Somalia could be battling famine in the coming months. Gedo region is one of the affected areas and the drought has left dozens of people dead.
Mahmoud Abdel Warsame, the mayor of Gariley, confirmed the death toll and said security forces also killed six Al-Shabab fighters. The security forces have been combining forces with local militia to fight the Al-Shabaab militants across the country.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has declared total war against Al-Shabaab militants and recently, he asked the United States and other partners to support Somali National Army. The Al-Shabaab militants have in turn activated attacks across Somalia.
The militants have been targeting wells and telecommunication infrastructure, a move that has led to the massive destruction of properties worth millions of dollars. The Al-Shabaab militants also extort local businesses to sustain their activities across the country.