Somalia Court Executes Five Militants for Murders of Officials

| April 8, 2017

Five al-Shabab militants convicted of murdering senior officials in the north eastern Somalia town of Bossaso have been executed by firing squad.

The men were sentenced to death in February by a military court in Bosaso port town, the commercial hub of Puntland, Somali federal member state.

The court said the men were involved in identifying possible targets, and carrying out assassinations against officials.

Abdifitah Haji Adam, Chairperson of Puntland military court, told VOA Somali Service that the court found the suspects guilty and gave them the death penalty two months ago.

"The men were al-Shabaab members. They were behind assassinations that happened here in Bososo, including the killing of the director of Puntland State presidency and the General Attorney of the army. They included murderers and accomplices. The court found them guilty and sentenced them to death in February, and today the sentences have been carried out," said Adam.

Group's leaders targeted

Al-Shabab, a terrorist group that emerged amid Somalia's years of chaos, once controlled large swathes of South and Central Somalia.

U.S. drone strikes killed some of the group's top leaders, weakening its military power in south and central Somali, causing some of its fighters to spread north to the Puntland mountainous areas to set up bases.

The group still is capable of carrying out frequent suicide bombings and assaults on Somalia's hotels and military targets, proving to be more resilient than expected.

In Puntland, the militant group recently assassinated dozens of government officials, including the attorney general of Puntland Military Courts, AbdiKarim Hasan Fidiye, third deputy commander of Puntalnd Police Forces, and the director of the Presidential Palace.

President Donald Trump recently gave the U.S. military more authority to conduct offensive airstrikes on al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia.

Journalist sentenced

Meanwhile, a court in Hargeisa, the capital of Somalia's breakaway northern territory of Somaliland, has sentenced journalist Abdimalik Muse Oldon to two years in prison.

The journalist was arrested two months ago for meeting Somalia's new president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo in Mogadishu.

The court said Oldon was charged with "engaging in anti-national activities, spreading "false" news and disturbing public order."

The chairman of Somaliland's independent human rights group based in Hargeisa, Guled Ahmed Jama, who is also the defense lawyer of the journalist has described the sentence as unfair and unconstitutional.

"The journalist did nothing against Somaliland and meeting with someone supporting is not constitutionally illegal. We see the sentence as "unfair" and we are appealing," the attorney told VOA.

Source: Voice of America

Category: Governance

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