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Somali Militant Group Executes Girls Accused of Spying

The Somali government has condemned the public execution of two teenage girls, killed by the Islamist militant group al-Shabab.

An al-Shabab firing squad killed the two girls Wednesday in the city of Beledweyne, on charges that they had spied for the government. Hundreds of people watched the execution after al-Shabab called on the town's residents to observe.

In a statement Thursday, Somalia's government called the killing a barbaric act and said it had no Islamic or humanitarian justification.

An al-Shabab judge says the two girls admitted to spying after being arrested last week by Islamist fighters.

The aunt of one of the girls told VOA Somali service that the girl's parents knew she had been arrested but did not learn of her death sentence until al-Shabab sent out vehicles with loudspeakers, urging the public to attend the execution.

She identified the girls as 15-year-old Ayan Mohamed Jama and 14-year-old Horiyo Ibrahim.

Al-Shabab has carried out other executions along with amputations and whippings in the parts of Somalia under its control.

The group, which has declared allegiance to al-Qaida, aims to topple the Somali government and turn the country into a strict Islamic state.