Clan Elders Detained for Negotiating with al-Shabab Commanders

A military court in Mogadishu sentenced clan elders to five years each for meeting al-Shabab in Harardhere town, in central Somalia. (PHOTO: COURTESY)

Somalia has arrested clan elders from the Galguduud region on suspicion of striking a deal with al-Shabab in exchange for the release of 67 people held by the group.

The three elders were arrested on Saturday after returning from the al-Shabab-controlled area of Harardhere and accused of serving the militant group’s interests. A claim denied by the elders.

The elders’ arrest comes just days after pro-Shabab media reported that a Somali sub-clan from central region had agreed to support the terror group and defend it against the Somali government’s ongoing military offensive.

The al-Qaida-linked group has sought the support of local clans in areas under its control to counter the ongoing military offensive across the country.

A Somali clan in the southern Lower Shabelle region responded to the group’s call for support by delivering 250 goats as a gift to it’s fighters.