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Africa: Al-Shabab extremists attack killed 20 People, Destroyed burnt food trucks in Central Somali

MOGADISHU, Somalia -- Somali state media and residents say the extremist group al-Shabaab killed at least 20 people and burned seven vehicles transporting food in the Heran region Saturday morning.

The armed group launched the attack in the Hiran area in the semi-autonomous state of Hirshabelle in central Somalia. The trucks were transporting food supplies from Baladweyne city to Mahas town, residents said on Saturday.

“Al-Shabab is doing all these things in order to make us surrender. But we shall never surrender to al-Shabaab as long as there is soul in us. Government forces have not reached the scene yet,” Aden said

The al-Qaeda-linked group has battled Somalia’s central government for more than a decade. It wants to establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

The group frequently launches bombings, gun assaults and other attacks on both military and civilian targets.

“The victims were drivers and passengers transporting food supplies from Beletweyne to Mahas and a total of seven trucks carrying food and vehicles used by the passengers were set ablaze," resident Hassan Abdulle told The Associated Press by phone.

The attack came a day after government forces destroyed landmines that al-Shabab had planted on the busy road connecting Beletweyne and Mataban with the intent to target travelers.

Al-Shabaab confirmed the attack and claimed to have killed 20 locally mobilized militia members.

Last month more than 20 people were killed in an attack in which al-Shabab fighters stormed the Hayat Hotel in Mogadishu, triggering a 30-hour battle as government troops sought to end the siege and free hostages.

The Somali government has condemned the “barbaric” attack and reiterated its support for local mobilization against the extremist group that holds significant parts of central and southern Somalia.

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