Over 12 people were killed and seven others were injured in fighting between armed residents and Al Shabaab in Somalia’s central officials in the central region of Mudug, said.
The fighting began on Wednesday after al-Shabab militants, who govern most of the region, increased taxes on the residents of Shabellow village. The village is 20 kilometers west of the Ba’ad win district. It is a command for the 21st division of the Somali National defense forces.
“Heavily-armed al-Shabab members first asked us to pass through our village, but in fact we found out they wanted to seize our village and we confronted them,” the head of the village, Mohamed Ibrahim, told VOA by phone.
Ibrahim told VOA that eight of the civilians and a number of al-Shabab militants were murdered in the battle.
“The militants killed eight residents, including women and the elderly who could not run away. I witnessed the dead bodies of six of Al Shabaab fighters,” Ibrahim said.
Citizens said Al Shabaab briefly took command of the village and burned businesses and houses. Al Shabaab militants have acknowledged responsibility for the raid, defining the village as a Somali military base, a claim refuted by inhabitants.
Yonis Mohamed Shaare, a leader in Galmudug state lawmaker, defined what happened as the massacre of citizens.
“ Al Shabaab were aware of a military base 20 kilometers from the village but instead they attacked this village, slaughtering innocent residents,” Shaare said.
The villagers, earlier this year lost hundreds of livestock because of drought. They rejected the militants’ demand for taxes and termed them as unfair as they have endured a lot throughout the year. The killing of 12 people in fighting between residents and the militia is the latest incidence.
Civilians and pastoralists in several areas in central Somalia have resolved to arm themselves against Al Shabaab fighters. They have had enough of the militants looting their resources and livestock.
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