Al-Shabab militants in Somalia say they have executed two of their members, both of them recruited from Kenya, for disloyalty and anti-Islamic activities.
The two Kenyans and a Somali man executed at the same time were killed in Somalia's Middle Juba region on Friday, local residents told VOA's Somali Service. The executions also were reported on an al-Shabab website.
In the Bay region, four other men were executed Friday, accused of spying for Somali, Kenyan and U.S. intelligence agencies, according to a statement issued on social media by the extremist group. It said one of the four was accused of facilitating the drone strike in September 2014 that killed al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, also known as Abu Zubayr.
The two Kenyan fighters who were executed in Jilib town were identified on al-Shabab's website as Abdullah Abdulhamid Faraj and Jared Mokae Omambia.
Blamed as 'facilitators'
Faraj, from Mombasa, Kenya, had been accused of "facilitating" killings of Muslim preachers in Kenya, VOA Somali reported. Omambia, who was from the western Kenyan city of Eldoret, was accused of working with Kenya’s anti-terrorism police unit.
Victims of the mass execution Friday in the Bay region's Bulo Fay village included 26-year-old Mohamed Aden Nur Hassan, who was beheaded. The al-Shabab website said he had been accused of providing key information that led to the death of al-Shabab commander Godane/Zubayr.
Al-Shabab said Muhiyadin Hirab Ahmed, 27, accused of betraying the leader of the Westgate Mall terror attack in Nairobi, and two others were killed by a firing squad immediately after they were pronounced guilty.
Recording of verdict
The extremists also released audio of an al-Shabab "judge" delivering his verdict against Hassan. The judge said Hassan has provided information that allowed U.S. forces to pinpoint the location of former militant chief Zubayr, contributing to his death. Hassan was accused of involvement in drone strikes that killed two other top al-Shabab commanders: Amniyat commander Abdishakur Tahlil in December 2014 and the militants' external operations chief Yusuf Dheeg the following February.
Hassan was suspected of passing on mobile telephone numbers for two of Zubayr's close associations that fixed their location in Barawe, the southern Somali port that was an al-Shabab stronghold at the time. Ten days after that information was passed to the CIA, al-Shabab officials have said, missiles launched by U.S. warplanes and drones killed Zubayr.
The raid that eliminated Godane/Zubayr was hailed as a major success at the time. One month later, Somali government troops and allied forces from the African Union regained control of Barawe, which al-Shabab had controlled since 2009.
Barawe has a proud commercial and cultural history dating back more than 500 years. But its politics have been turbulent for centuries, with multiple episodes of colonial occupation, including by European powers.
Muhiyadin Hirab Ahmed, executed at the same time as Hassan, was accused of working with Kenyan counterterrorism units following the Westgate Mall terrorist attack, which killed nearly 70 people. The information Ahmed allegedly provided led to the killing of Aadan Garaar, the suspected Westgate attack mastermind, in March 2015.
Also executed Friday in the Bay region was Hassan Diriye Osman, 42, whom al-Shabab accused of providing informants to Kenya intelligence in Gedo region. However, relatives of Osman told VOA he was an innocent schoolteacher. They said he had been missing since 2014.
The fourth victim of the Bula Fulay execution squads was Hussein Nunow Nagay, 36, accused of giving the Somali intelligence agency information about Al-Shabab fighters' movements.