Somalia’s al-Shabab militants ‘execute informers’

Al-Shabab executed four people accused of spying for the United States, Ethiopia and the government

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Somalia’s al-Shabab militants have executed four people accused of spying for the United States, Ethiopia and the country’s internationally-backed government, officials and witnesses said.

The executions by firing squad took place at a square in the town of Bardhere, an al-Shabab stronghold in Somalia’s southwestern region of Gedo, late Tuesday, and came a week after the US said it had killed the Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants’ intelligence chief in an air strike.

“One of the spies worked with the CIA and facilitated the killing of an al-Shabab commander,” a Shabab judge in the town said before the four were shot dead.

According to the judge, another one of those executed had been aiding U.S. operations in Barawe, a port town and former al-Shabab stronghold that was captured last year by Somali and African Union forces, while the other two worked for Ethiopian intelligence and Somalia’s security agency.

“After hearing the charges against the four and their confession, the Islamic court sentenced them to the death penalty,” the judge said.

A local witness, Ali Ronow, said hundreds of locals watched the execution.

“The men were blindfolded and shot from the back by a team of hooded gunmen,” he said.

“All of them had their hands tied behind their backs when brought on a pickup truck and they were also hooded. They were shot indiscriminately with machine guns,” said Muktarey, another witness.

Last week the United States conducted an air strike in Saacow, 320 kilometers (200 miles) west of the capital Mogadishu and in the Middle Juba region, and Somali officials said al-Shabab intelligence chief Abdishakur Tahlil was killed along with two other militants.

Al-Shabab’s former leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was also killed by a U.S. air strike in September 2014.

Separately, a bomb stuck beneath a car in the capital Mogadishu wounded one, ripping off the leg of the driver as he travelled near the central K4 roundabout, police officer Awil Mohamed said.

“I saw his leg in a shoe left inside the car” said Farah Abdi, who was nearby the busy junction when the bomb exploded.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but al-Shabab have for years carried out a string of bombings and killings in their fight to overthrow the government.

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