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While it was known that the fighters had moved recently to Mudug region, Galmudug officials today confirmed al-Shabaab fighters arrived in their territory last night.
“We received information that al-Shabaab militia with number of armed cars arrived in parts of our province. They reached the villages of Bud-Bud and Barwaaqo, which are parts of Hobyo district of Galmudug state. We prepared our troops in order to prevent them for coming and our army are moving forward to these areas. We are ready to defend our people and our territory,” said Galmudug Security Minister Abshir Diini.
Somalia Report discovered that Abdi Shakur Ali Oma, the al-Shabaab official leading the migration, originated from Galmudug. Mr. Omar talked to elders and people of Bud-Bud and Barwaaqo villages calling on them to obey Islamic faith. He also called on them to support an Islamic administration that he plans to announce, according to villagers.
The same sources confirmed that this unit of al-Shabaab established bases in the towns they reached, provoking Galmudug officials to initiate a state emergency meeting. Officials are concerned the fighters will begin a terror campaign of hit and run attacks, suicide bombs and assassinations, as they have done in Mogadishu.
Harardhere, a well-known pirate hub in Mudug region, has also been slowly becoming an al-Shabaab town. Over the last two years, al-Shabaab has been extending its power to the difficult-to-access area since it lacks any law enfocement or effective government. Currently, al-Shabaab controls the main town and surrounding villages, while the pirates control the shore and the sea.
Shabaab in Puntland
Extending their reach further north in Puntland, al-Shabaab killed two relatives, Puntland security official Minjir Hassan Gurhan and Ali Diib Gurxan, a civilian, in Bosaso, a commercial port city. The men were assassinated in a tea shop near Juba Hotel on Thursday. Both men hailed from the Dubays clan.
Somalia Report learned that Mr Minjir Hassan Gurhan was one of the officers in charge of leading the attacks in Galgala Mountains in Bari region against Sheikh Atom's militia, which recently aligned with al-Shabaab. He was recently on the frontlines and his close relative told Somalia Report they believed he was targeted because of his participation in the Galgala war and because he was Puntland security staff. Previously he was also injured in 2005 during fighting between the Puntland forces and local people at Majiyahan.
The pro-al-Shabaab Radio Al-Andalus said the militants were responsible for the murders and claimed the men worked for the Puntland Intelligence Service.
Khalif Isse Mudan, Punltand’s security minister, said that they have captured suspects. “We arrested seven persons over the incident and five of them are al-Shabaab intelligence. Our security are still investigating the matter. One of the deceased was among our security officers, while other was a civilian,” said Mudan.
Locals Residents Fight Al-Shabaab in Baidoa
Meanwhile heaving fight broke out around noon outside Baydabo (Baidoa) village, the capital of Bay region, between al-Shabaab and local residents of Labaatan Jirow. Both sides used was used different weapons included heavy and small arms. Source told Somalia Report weapons and other supplies were given to the Labaatan Jirow residents by the people of Baydhabo, government troops and their allied forces of Ethiopian.
The rift began on Thursday when al-Shabaab militias were ousted by the people of the city. In turn, al-Shabaab killed boy from the village after accusing him of spying, sparking outrage from the local residents.
“It’s true, they killed on Thursday morning a young guy accusing him of spying for the Somali government. They shot him. We cannot tolerate their horrific actions. They want to kill and torture innocent people so we decided to fight against them. We got support from the people and forces of Baydhabo city. We ousted the militia from our territory," said Mohamed Hilow, a resident of Labaatan Jirow.
These incidents come a day after al-Qaeda’s global leader, Dr. Ayman Al Zawahiri, sent a video to al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia, encouraging them to change their tactics into hit and run. He also urged them to oust Somali the AMISOM forces and to double their attacks inside Somalia. He further added that the fighters should not be worried about American drones, saying that they cannot change your faith of war.