Al-Shabaab militant group has kidnapped 42 people during a raid in the southern Somali region of Bay, a government official said Tuesday.
“Al-Shabaab militants have raided a town near Goof Gaduud district and took 42 residents to the nearby woods,” Goof Gaduud District Commissioner Ahmed Adan Mohamed told The Anadolu Agency.
The group is now demanding a ransom of 10 million Somali shillings ($14,200) for their release, he added.
Mohamed went on to urge the government to help secure the group’s release, asserting that the local authorities cannot afford to pay the ransom.
Al-Shabaab has not commented on the reported incident, the first of such kind to be linked to the group.
Al-Shabaab has recently suffered several major blows, losing most of its strongholds in the southern and central parts of the country to Somali and African Union troops. Several group leaders have also been killed in recent U.S. drone attacks.
The militant group, however, has continued to mount attacks against government forces and African peacekeepers.