Al-Shabab kidnaps nine civilians in central Somalia

Beledweyne (Caasimada Online) – Al-Shabab militants in Somalia, have kidnapped nine civilians in Halgan District of Hiiraan region on Monday, according to officials and eyewitnesses.

The incident occurred when the group ambushed and carjacked innocent civilians traveling in two mini caravans. 

According to witness accounts, the militants barricaded the road in the Dheenweyne area and began firing shots, causing the drivers to seek safety by fleeing to the banks of the Shabelle River. However, several passengers, including elderly individuals, could not escape and were taken captive by the group.

The militants then seized the vehicles and crossed the Shabelle River into Western Hiiraan, an active area where the group is, and government forces have been deployed.

This latest kidnapping follows a trend of similar attacks by Al-Shabab, which has resorted to abducting civilians as it loses ground in Somalia.

In the past year, the group has kidnapped at least 21 civilians, ultimately slaughtering them in an apparent response to local mobilization against the group in the Hiiraan, Galgaduud, and Shabelle regions. 

The group has also lost control of several strategic towns in the country.

In recent months, Al-Shabab has faced increasing pressure from government forces and regional militaries. The group has lost control of several major cities and towns and has been forced to retreat to rural areas in southern Somalia. 

Despite this, the group remains a significant threat and continues to carry out attacks using suicide bombers, improvised explosive devices, and ambushes.

The kidnapping of nine civilians by Al-Shabab in the Halgan District of the Hiiraan region is a sign of the group’s desperation as it loses ground in the face of resistance from government forces and local militias.