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Deadly fighting broke out between herders and al-Shabaab militants in a remote area of Dakaate near Bardhere district in Somalia's Gedo region late yesterday afternoon after the insurgents tried to take the herders' animals, according to witnesses who spoke to Somalia Report.
At least three people were killed in the armed confrontation, including one pastoralist defending his animals and two al-Shabaab fighters. Two others were injured when they tried to intervene.
"Yes, we lost one person and killed two al-Shabaab fighters. They left, but we are scared they are coming back. What made us upset was that al-Shabaab forced us give them most of our sheep and goats. They said since they were 'defending' the country we had to pay with animals, but we do not agree with zakat (forced donation). If they try again to take our animals, we will fight," Ahmed Aliyow, a nomadic animal herder around Bardheere, told Somalia Report.
Sheik Mohamed Hussein Al Qadi, the spokesman for the pro-government Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa militia in Gedo region confirmed the incident to Somalia Report.
‘’It was a very brave for the nomadic people to face al-Shabaab. We are aware that al-Shabaab is desperate and looting from the people. We confirmed the death of their militias. They left the scene with several injuries. We urge the locals to defend their properties and are doing all we can to remove the militias from all the Somali territories," said the spokesman.
Sergeant Adan Ahmed Hirsi, spokesman of TFG forces in Gedo, voiced the government's support for the herders.
‘’The government and its officials are very happy. We welcome any attack against the al-Qaeda aligned militias. We are supporting the nomadic people. Al-Shabaab's time is finished and they are stealing the property of local people. We are defending our people and their properties," the spokesman told Somalia Report.
Al-Shabaab has not released an official statement on the matter.
Unconfirmed reports says that al-Shabaab arrested a nomad and took him into local custody in Bardhere district.