Al-Shabab Denies Forceful Evacuation of Civilians in Somalia

Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia.

Somalia’s terror group Al-Shabaab Monday denied forcing the mass evacuation of Adan Yabal town in Middle Shabelle Region after the army and pro-government militias captured the town last week.

Yusuf Sheikh Issa, also known as Kaba-Kutukade, the group’s regional leader, said that Al-Shabaab did not force more than 10,000 people to leave their homes.

“It’s not possible to forcefully remove over 10,000 residents. We need to ask ourselves where one can take 10,000 people. People fled the town because they did not want to live under the government’s rule and were also fleeing the problems that the government brought,” he told pro-Shabaab radio station.

According to Issa, some local residents took up arms and joined the group in their fight against government forces.

Al-Shabaab’s denial comes after Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud accused the insurgent group of forcefully evacuating civilians and using them as human shields.

Since August, the Somali government has been engaged in a military offensive against Al-Shabaab in the country’s central regions. Villages and towns were liberated by government forces and clan militias.