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Somalia: Hiran Pastoralists Fight Back Against Al-Shabaab Banditry
SABAHI
Thursday, December 05, 2013

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Pastoralists in the rural areas near Mahas in Somalia's Hiran region have started fighting back against al-Shabaab, and are taking up arms against militants who have been robbing civilians of their livestock.

After launching a successful attack against al-Shabaab to retrieve their stolen livestock in late November, local residents told Sabahi they are preparing for another battle.

"We are in the midst of organising a campaign in Mahas, which al-Shabaab knows nothing about, that aims to help rural residents whose livestock is looted by al-Shabaab all the time," said a 57-year-old traditional elder in Mahas district who asked not to be identified for security reasons.

"We are ready to support the pastoralists by providing them with weapons to defend themselves against al-Shabaab," he told Sabahi. "The people they are robbing are our people and we cannot accept that."

The traditional elder said pastoralists successfully launched an attack on Ina Balle village on November 29th and were able to recover 100 goats that al-Shabaab had taken forcefully from citizens.

"Very angry pastoralists have attacked a group of al-Shabaab youth who stole their livestock and succeeded in getting them all back," he said.

He said two civilians died and three others were injured in the battle against al-Shabaab, while four militants were injured and one of their vehicles was burned.

Taking a stand against al-Shabaab crimes

Mohamed Moalim, a 42-year-old pastoralist from a rural area near Ina Balle whose animals were looted by al-Shabaab, said he was planning to defend himself against the militants.

"Fifty goats of mine were among the animals that were taken by al-Shabaab," he told Sabahi from Beledweyne, where he was seeking medical care. "I was really shocked [when I heard about it], but thanks to God our people showed unexpected bravery in getting [our animals] back from the outcast group."

Moalim said he was planning to sell some of his livestock to buy weapons to defend himself from al-Shabaab.


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