Residents in central Somalia say heavily armed suspected al-Shabaab militants have arrived at their coastal village and exchanged gunfire with local militias. The reports came before the telecommunications of the town were completely cut off Monday afternoon.Residents who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals told VOA that the militants were travelling on three boats that entered Gara’ad village, 280 kilometers North East of Galkayo, the provincial capital of Mudug region of Central Somalia.
“Travelling with three boats, they entered the village from the sea. They exchanged fire with local militias, and we do not know their aim,” said one resident.
As soon the news broke out, the village’s communication with the outside world was cut off, making details unavailable.
Authorities in the Puntland region of Somalia which controls Gara’ad village could not be reached for comment.
The move comes two days after al-Shabaab fighters in central Somalia shut down telecommunications between the towns of Harardhere and Hobyo.
Resident Abdi Ali told VOA Somali the militants were making military movements around Harardhere town.
“They kidnapped several boats from the local fishermen and loaded them with fighters,” Ali said. “We do not know where those fighters were sent to.”