The Al-Shabaab jihadists reportedly killed six businessmen in Hiran in Central Somalia late on Sunday.
Shabelle Radio, an independent broadcaster, Monday reported that the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab seized several lorries around Qurac-Joome settlement, about 55km of Beledweyne town, the regional capital of Hiranregion.
Beledweyne town lies 335km north of Mogadishu.
Shabelle Radio quoted the Hiran region’s deputy governor, Mr Mohamoud Ali Mohamoud, saying the six businessmen were killed by the militants who also burnt 11 lorries.
“Al-Shabaab militants seized the vehicles after delivering commercial items in Hudur town, the capital of Bakol region,” said Mr Mohamoud.
He indicated the Al-Shabaab militants, who have maintained control over Hudur town for several years, were angered when some businessmen defied their ban and delivered food and other items to the besieged town.
“The lorries were on their way back to Beledweyne town, having delivered consignments to Hudur town,” Shabelle Radio further quoted the deputy governor.
“Unfortunately, the violent extremists managed to seize some of the trucks while others managed to escape and were on their way to Beledweyne town,” he added.
The war tactics
Many areas in southern and central Somalia remain under the Al-Shabaab as part of the war tactics the group adopted after they lost major towns to the Somali National Army (SNA), supported by the peacekeepers serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).
Both government and civilian vehicles were often hit by Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted by the Al-Shabaab along the traffic ways, causing deaths, injuries and damage to properties.
The Al-Shabaab militants are struggling to defeat the internationally recognised federal government of Somalia, having an ultimate goal of establishing an Islamic state under Sharia (Islamic law).