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UPDATED JULY 28 WITH AL-SHABAAB LEADER DENYING DEATH
Tensions are high in Ruun-Nirgood district of Middle Shabelle region after al-Shabaab militants demanded that each family give at least one boy to join their fight against Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) or contribute two camels.
Fighting is likely to break out after local residents refused the order and the local militia prepared to defend their families and livestock against the Islamic insurgents, according to local residents.
“They asked the residents for the impossible. Drought has seriously affected the local community. They are asking us to take part in the fighting or to pay with our remaining domestic animals,” Yahye Alasow, a 57-year old resident of Ruun-Nirgood district, told Somalia Report.
“If you lock a cat in a room and start to beat her then in the end she will try to defend herself. We are like that. Al-Shabaab did everything to us, but we will not accept it anymore," she added.
Abdukadir Elimi Salad, a Somali political analyst based in Nairobi, believes that the insurgents are facing a desperate situation after losing ground and popularity in Mogadishu and Somalia's southern regions.
“This is the behavior of every administration in the country when its time is over. It’s not only in Middle Shabelle that they are facing the pressure. Look at Gedo, the two Jubas and Lower Shabelle, and even Bay and Bakool regions; the Somali people understand the aim of al-Shabaab and will not tolerate it,” he told Somalia Report.
“The insurgents have lost their funding and they want to take illegal tax from the people, looking out for their interests only,” said the analyst.
Senior al-Shabaab officials killed in Galgudud region
Meanwhile, reports from central Somalia indicate that pro-government Islamist militia Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa (ASWJ) launched an ambush attack on al-Shabaab officials traveling between War-holo and Wabho settlements near El-Bur of Galgudud, killing five insurgents and wounding several others.
“Early on Wednesday we killed five al-Shabaab officials including Sheikh Yusuf Kabo-ku-tukade, Farole Abdikarim, the deputy commander in Galgudud, and Ahmed Dhere, the head of al-Shabaab's justice department," ASWJ Spokesman Sheikh Abdulahi Abdirahman (Abu Qadi) told Somalia Report.
However, Yusuf popped up on the pro-al-Shabaab Radio Andulus to deny the claims.
"I am still alive: they said we killed Yusuf, but I am telling you only Allah will kill me when it is my day,” he said.
According to the clan elders and relatives, Yusuf only suffered a wound to his right hand.
Al-Shabaab Attacks ASWJ Bases
Meanwhile, at least ten people died and five other were wounded after al-Shabaab attacked ASWJ bases in Hees village, 40km east of the Beledwein town, in Hiran region.