Unknown gunmen have shot and killed eight local elders in Southern Somalia, reports confirm.
The elders were returning from Baidoa town after attending a conference in which a new controversial administration was formed and were intercepted in Burhakaba district of Bay region which is some 316 kilometers northwest of Mogadishu by gunmen before shot dead, residents and officials confirmed to the media.
One of the relatives of the murdered elders said they were travelling back to the Lower Shabelle region, where they hailed from. Another elder is believed to have been taken by the unknown gunmen and still missing.
In Somalia, Elders are the most respected and trusted people in the community.
Somali Prime Minister, Abdiweli Sheikh condemned and blamed Somali militant group for the murdering of the local elders.
“Al-Shabaab has once again shown their true colours by murdering eight of our well respected and loved elders. Al-Shabaab claim to be Muslims but they are attempting to destroy the religion, our culture, the social fabric of our communities and the economy.’’ Read a statement from the Prime minister’s office.
But an official from the group denied that they were behind or involved in the murdering.
The al-Qaeda linked group have lost major stronghold in Southern and Central Somalia in the past few weeks, and are nearing to lose their main base ‘’Barawe’’.