Killings and kidnappings in Somalia


Gunmen from Somalia’s Al Shabaab group killed six people including four soldiers in the streets of the capital, a day after the Islamist movement kidnapped scores of elders in the central region, officials said.

The militants drove up to a tuk-tuk vehicle carrying soldiers in Mogadishu’s Karan district and opened fire, killing all four, police said.
“We heard gunfire and we rushed to the scene but the killers escaped,” police captain Farah Aden told Reuters.

Al Shabaab fighters also shot two people dead in the Wardigley district in the heart of the city, he added. The militants said they were an officer and his bodyguard, in a statement claiming responsibility for both attacks.

Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman, said militants also set off a car bomb that seriously injured a man working for the finance ministry. There was no immediate comment from the authorities.

Al Shabaab fighting to impose its form of Islam and topple the Western-backed government launches regular guerrilla attacks across the country since the army backed by African peacekeepers pushed it out of the capital in 2011.

On Monday, the group kidnapped more than 60 elders from Galgadud in the central, semi-autonomous state of Galmudug, officials said.

Al Shabaab said it took the local leaders because their sub-clan refused to pay full compensation for five people killed from another clan. “We do not want the clans to fight again,” said Abdullahi Abu Khalid, named al Shabaab governor for Galgadud.

The militant group keeps up a presence in remote parts of Somalia, many riven by years of ethnic rivalries and blood feuds. Some clans are seen as linked to militants, others to government.

Galmudug’s president, Ahmed Duale Gele Haaf, said the militants kidnapped 62 elders in a bid to destabilise his region. “They will either kill them or order them to spread chaos,” he said.

He accused the central government of not giving enough resources or troops to protect the region.

Somalia has been gripped by violence and lawlessness since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled in 1991.