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.
“Those who watched the event could not bear the painful experience. Two very young girls were shot as they watched and no one could help,” said Dahir Casowe, a local elder.
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.
Only shortly before the executions, Sheik Mohamed Ibrahim sentenced the girls to death for spying for government soldiers fighting al-Shabab. The only qualifications Ibrahim needed to be appointed a judge by al-Shabab were that he be male and know the Quran.
Abdiwali Aden, a witness, told The Associated Press by phone that al-Shabab militiamen had walked through Belet Weyne’s streets, using microphones and handheld speakers to order residents to attend the pending executions.
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