Somali officials on Wednesday executed two ISIS militants convicted for carrying out assassinations on behalf of the al-Shabab terrorist group, marking the second execution of Islamist militants in a week. The executions are part of the Somali government’s all-out war on the militants.
The two men went before a firing squad at Mogadishu’s General Kahiye Police Academy after a military appellate court upheld a lower court ruling to execute the convicted militants.
According to court papers, Aden Mohamed Ali Mohamud first joined Al-Shabab in 2010 but later defected to ISIS in 2015, while Mohamed Ali Mohamed Farah joined ISIS after watching the group’s propaganda via encrypted messages on the social media app Telegram.
Military prosecutor General Abdullahi Kamey told the court that the two were involved in a spate of killings of civilians and government officials in central Somalia and the capital Mogadishu.
Professor Abdiwahab Abdisamad, director of the Institute for Horn of Africa Strategic Studies, told VOA the executions were the right step for Somalia’s national security.
“Both al-Shabab and ISIS are enemy of Somali state,” Abdisamad said. “The government must protect the lives and the property of the people of Somalia. So, if any one of them committed a crime against the people of Somalia, government must bring them to book so that they must face the music. So what the government is doing right now, in fact, it’s a commendable job, it’s a good job well done because that’s how things are. That’s any government in the world that in fact will improve the security of the country.”
Wednesday’s executions come just days after the execution of two other convicted al-Shabab militants, all part of an ongoing military operations throughout central regions of the country, where some clans have contributed militias to fight alongside government forces.
Somali government officials on Wednesday said that security forces recently killed 17 al-Shabab members in the Middle Shabelle region.
Abdisamad says that while al-Shabab is facing intense pressure as a result of the operations, the group remains intact and is not likely to suffer.
“Right now there is a defection with al-Shabab, but they are a resilient group,” said Abdisamad. “They are going to retreat, re-strategize their actions and operations in Somalia.”
Abdi Hussein, a security analyst at the Somali Institute for Security Studies, said that, although today’s executions in Mogadishu send a message to al-Shabab and others intending to destabilize the region, reprisals may be imminent.
“The group will exert pressure on towns by increasing attacks and assassinations,” said Hussein. “Therefore, the government should get ready to foil many different types of attacks against the towns including assassinations, VBIED, IEDs on the roadside attacks.”
In its most recent attack, al-Shabab fighters killed at least nine people Sunday at a hotel in the southern coastal city of Kismayo.