Somalia's Puntland sentences 6 Moroccans to death over ISIS membership


BOSASO, Somalia - A court in northern Somalia has slapped six Moroccans with death sentences after establishing that they are active members of the IS-Somalia militants, a group that has continually caused chaos in Puntland state.

The IS-Somalia militants, who are limited to Puntland's Golis mountains, have struggled to expand their territory after they clashed with Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-linked network that is plotting to oust the fragile UN-backed federal government of Somalia.

On Thursday, the court ruled that the six Moroccan nationals had joined IS-Somalia militants thus promoting terror in the Horn of Africa nation which has struggled with instability for the last three decades. Somalia is yet to stabilize due to insecurity and terrorism.

The judge in the Puntland region says the men came to Somalia to harm the lives of Muslims and Somalis, and to create mischief in the country. The landmark judgment confirms that terror groups particularly the IS-Somalia militants have been recruiting foreigners.

Earlier, the court heard that the accused were training with the Islamic State faction in Somalia in the Cal-Miskaat mountains. They were recruited at different times before graduating and subsequently, assigned duties within and outside the country.

The accused claimed they were haplessly misguided about training with the group and wanted to be deported to their countries, according to their lawyer. Moroccans also argue they surrendered voluntarily.

An Ethiopian - Ahmed Hussein Ibrahim and a Somali - Abdulkadir Jama Mohamed were sentenced to 10 years jail terms each for conspiring with the group. A ninth man was freed for lack of evidence.

Those convicted by the court include Mohamed Hassan, Ahmed Najwi, Khalid Latha, Mohamed Binu Mohamed Ahmed, Ridwan Abdulkadir Osmany, and Ahmed Hussein Ibrahim. Two Somali men are also charged with conspiring with IS Somalia. They denied the charges.

Somalia is actively fighting terrorism, with Al-Shabaab and IS-Somalia suffering losses in various parts of the country. The government of Somalia is projecting that by December 2024, the militants would have been downgraded substantially.


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