At least 45 al Shabaab fighters were slain and some of them were beheaded on Sunday, according to three witnesses, as residents of the country’s central areas grew more armed against the terrorists.
Following a battle between newly expanded militias allied with the federal government and al Shabaab in the Hiran area of Hirshabelle State, where there has been significant fighting this month, beheadings occurred on Saturday.
Since 2006, the weak central government of Somalia has been under attack by the al Qaeda-affiliated militia known as Al Shabaab. It seeks to put into effect a rigid application of sharia law.
Residents of the Hiran region claim that Al Shabaab has been burning homes, destroying wells, and beheading civilians more frequently. This, along with its tax demands in the midst of the worst drought in 40 years, has prompted more locals to pick up arms.
Al Shabaab is weak, according to Ahmed Abdulle, a Hiran elder. It merely burns, beheads, and displays the heads of its victims in the streets to scare.
Videos widely shared on Telegram showed at least two beheaded alleged al Shabaab fighters and dozens more dead bodies in fatigues and red-and-white checked scarves. Some of the dead appeared to have died in battle.
Reuters was not independently able to verify the authenticity of the videos, but three witnesses to the beheadings said they were real. Seven other residents, including Abdulle, said family members had been present and confirmed the deaths to them.
The three witnesses asked not to be named for security reasons.
Al Shabaab condemned us to hell. So our people made the decision to free themselves. My daughter is also fighting on the frontline, she has an AK-47 on her shoulder,” local Halima Ismail said.
Ahmed Moalim Fiqi, the interior minister for Somalia, did not respond to requests for comment right away.
Al Shabaab’s spokesperson was unable for comment at the time of publication.
Hassaan Farah, an elder, told Reuters that in recent weeks, fighters had retaken ten villages from al Shabaab.
Galmudug state residents who live nearby are likewise turning to violence.
Ahmed Shire, the Galmudug information minister, claimed that “this week we have regained nine settlements.”
Galmudug state has undergone a significant transformation.
According to the Somali National News Agency, the federal government sent troops to support Galmudug fighters on Saturday.
Al Shabaab terrorists killed at least 18 civilians earlier this month and destroyed trucks carrying food aid. In a hotel siege in August, they killed almost 20 individuals.
Since clan-based warlords ousted a ruler in 1991 and then turned on one another, Somalia has been engulfed in civil conflict.