Somalia: Al-Shabaab commanders sentenced to death in Puntland


GALKAYO, Puntland - A military court in Puntland, a northeastern state in Somalia, has sentenced five Al-Shabaab commanders, who were convicted of different crimes within the state.

Those affected in the latest landmark ruling come from the Mudug region and Ayn, which have been terror hotspots for the last couple of months. Al-Shabaab does have a strong presence in Puntland.

Although the military court did not name the five commanders, they are, however, convicted of planning and, or ordering bombings and killings in Galkayo, a town on the border of Puntland and Galmadug for the last 13 years. They were jointly convicted.

This means that the victims will have only 30 days to appeal the sentences or serve the death penalty.

The court has previously slapped eight other Al-Shabaab militants, including senior leaders with the death penalty, becoming the highest number of terrorists to be sentenced in Puntland for years.

Four other suspects initially accused of being terrorists were acquitted. Military courts have proven effective in the country and are often used to prosecute Al-Shabaab and ISIS-linked militants, who have been fighting hard to topple the weak UN-backed administration.

Elsewhere, Al-Shabaab militants attacked a checkpoint on the outskirts of Baidoa on Monday morning. According to a source, The Checkpoint is located in the southeast of Baidoa, the regional administrative capital of Southwest.

"There were no casualties among the troops, and they defended themselves against the attackers," said an official who spoke to Garowe Online on condition of anonymity given that he was not authorized to conclusively speak about the attack.

Al-Shabaab has intensified its attacks on government bases in Baidoa and its surroundings during this transition period in Somalia. The country is facing a pre-election crisis after the term of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo expired.


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