At least 18 civilians have been killed in an overnight attack by al-Shabaab militants in central Somalia. A truck carrying relief food was also destroyed in the attack, local residents and a state news agency said on Saturday.

According to the Reuters report, the militant group carried out the attack in the Hiran area of ​​the semi-autonomous state of Hirshabel in central Somalia. Residents said the trucks were carrying food supplies from Baladwen town to Mahas town.

“Al-Shabaab killed 18 civilians and burned several trucks carrying aid to Mahas town last night,” senior local resident Farah Aden told Reuters.

Al Shabaab militants set fire to trucks carrying relief food in Mahas and “killed most of the people on board,” state news agency Sonna said.

The al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group has been fighting Somalia’s central government for more than a decade. They want to establish their own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law.

The group frequently carries out bombings, gun attacks and other attacks on military and civilian targets.

Last month, al-Shabaab fighters attacked the Hyatt Hotel in Mogadishu, killing more than 20 people. Government troops launched a 30-hour battle to end the siege and free hostages.

(September 3)