Al-Shabab militants in Somalia have stoned a mother of eight to death for allegedly committing adultery.

Hundreds of residents gathered at a public square in the town of Saakow, about 400 kilometers south of Mogadishu, to watch the execution on Thursday, residents said.

In an audio posted on an al-Shabab website, an al-Shabab judge said the woman, identified as Habiba Ali Ishaq, married a second husband while already married to another man, and as a result was convicted for adultery.

The al-Shabab judge said his court acted after receiving a complaint from the woman's original husband, Ali Ibrahim Ali, 44. The judge said Ishaq and Ali have eight children together.

"The husband told the court that one day his wife told him she will be going to visit relatives in Mogadishu and in Baidoa and that after 18 days absence, he heard she got married in the countryside in Nus Duniya," the judge said. Nus Duniya is a village not far from Saakow.

The judge said he asked the woman if the man's account was true, and says she admitted marrying another man while married to Ali.

Saakow residents say militants buried Ishaq up to her neck on Thursday and threw rocks at her head until she was pronounced dead.

Al-Shabab did not say what happened to the woman's alleged second husband, who was not brought to the square. VOA Somali has learned that the group told relatives of Ishaq that the man, Farah Abdirahman Jelle, has escaped from prison.

Marriage in dispute

VOA also learned from residents that Ishaq's marriage to her original husband was in dispute. One account says she left Ali after complaining about a lack of support.

Sources also told VOA Somali that Ishaq visited one of her children, who was ill, and got into a heated argument with Ali before al-Shabab arrested her.

This is the second stoning al-Shabab has conducted this year. In late May, the group stoned a 44-year-old man to death in the town of Rama Addey, also for alleged adultery. The man, Dhayow Mohamed Hassan, was found guilty of impregnating a woman outside of marriage.

Al-Shabab runs its own court system as part of its effort to impose a strict form of Islamic law on Somalia. Court proceedings are not public, making it hard to verify confessions and testimony.