MOGADISHU, Somalia – The two accused spies died amid a fusillade of bullets from a firing squad organized by a hardline Islamist militia. The condemned pair were only girls, aged 15 and 18, and their grieving relatives say they were uneducated, usually stayed at home and could not have spied for anyone.
Horrified residents of the town of Belet Weyne, in western Somalia, were forced to watch the execution by al-Shabab on Wednesday. One woman fainted as the girls were gunned down by 10 masked executioners.
Al-Shabab is linked to al-Qaida and has carried out whippings, amputations and executions to enforce its own strict interpretation of Islam. But this was the first public execution of girls in Belet Weyne, which al-Shabab took over just over a year ago.
Sheik Mohamed Ibrahim sentenced the girls to death for spying for government soldiers fighting al-Shabab.
Abdiwali Aden, a witness, said al-Shabab militiamen had walked through Belet Weyne’s streets, using microphones and handheld speakers to order residents to attend the pending executions.
Later, Ayan Mohamed Jama, 18, and Huriyo Ibrahim, 15, wearing veils and blindfolds, were brought before the gathered residents and shot with assault rifles.