The militant group Al-Shabaab have ramped up attacks in Middle Shabelle region virtually cutting off main road use along Mogadishu-Jowhar highway in the last couple of days.
In the last 78 hours alone, the group has inflicted casualties among locals, government officials and AU forces in the Middle Shabelle threatening efforts of stabilisation in the recovered areas.
Eye witnesses have told HOL the militants have increased numbers of its fighter in areas along Bala’d barely two days after it killed Middle Shabelle deputy governor Abdullahi Shitaawe in a targeted IED attack in Gololey locality near Bal’ad town.
On Saturday the militants ambushed an AU base killing 12 Burundian soldiers and injuring over 15 others.
According to multiple sources, the fighters have set up roadblocks and planted landmines targeting government officials using the road.
Further, sources indicate government officials have opted for air travel to Mogadishu to avoid possible attacks.
Locals added the militants are now stopping civilians using the highway to ascertain their identity with intend of picking out government workers.
The increased attacks comes amid heightened military operations in the Lower Shabelle region which have denied havens for the militants.
The attacks are also likely to slow down planned construction of a Qatari funded highway linking the town of Jowhar and Mogadishu.