BALADWEYNE, Somalia [SMN] – The Islamist armed group Al-Shabab has burned down nine homes and destroyed several water wells in raids on three villages near Mahas and Baladweyne towns, amid an ongoing military operation in Hiran region of central Somalia.
Mohamed Abduqadir Mohamed, one of the people’s council in the region, said the group’s militants had used explosives to destroy the wells and torched nine homes after an attack in Bukure, Hees and Raqso.
Mohamed says many families are sleeping in the open, exposed to cold, mosquitoes, and other insects as their houses were burned down.
He also accused the Al Shabab fighters of abducting number of local residents whom he said spoke out against the groups’ raid on their village.
There was no immediate comment from Al Shabab over the allegation.
This comes as Somali military said its special forces had taken over five new areas from Al Shabab during an operation carried out near Mahas and Matab towns in the region.
On Friday, an al Shabab suicide attack rocked near an army base in Baladweyne town of Hiran region, some 335 km north of the capital Mogadishu.
More than a decade, Al Shabab – an al Qaeda – linked group has been fighting against African Union troops and the UN-backed government based in the capital Mogadishu.
Despite being driven out of Mogadishu in 2011, the militant group seeks to create an Islamic caliphate out of Somalia.