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The supreme court of Garowe issued death penalties to Abdulahi Abdulle Iman for the killing of a senior Galkayo security head as well as assassinating a tribal chief. Osman Abdi Gabow was also executed, after being found guilty in the killing of two Bossaso security forces and three civilians.
Mohamud Hassan, a senior Judge in Puntland, said that the two men were sentenced after evidence clearly indicated that they had killed on behalf of al-Shabaab.
“They both pleaded guilty to the killings, and admitted to receiving funding from al-Shabaab,” Mohamud told Somalia Report. “Let this serve as a warning, all wrongdoers will face the full wrath of the law and this two men are a prof of it,” he added.
Puntland has witnessed a wave of assassinations in recent months with majority of the killings being carried out at night near mosques in Garowe, Bossaso and Galkayo.
Prominent scholars argue that the man most directly responsible for the killing is Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, a top Al-Shabaab leader who was opposed to the late cleric’s stand against the militants.
Puntland’s President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole condemned ‘terrorists’ for killing Sheikh Ahmed in Bossaso. Farole named several al-Shabaab leaders, including Hassan Mohamud Takar, Abdullahi Ali Hashi and Jama Abdisalam, as responsible for Sheikh Ahmad’s death.
President Farole said al-Shabaab leaders, “met in Baidoa and declared to target scholars and increase the violence across Somalia.”
Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, an Islamist hardliner and former Hizbul Islam leader, has criticized Farole and denied responsibility.
“Our desire is to see an Islamic state free from foreign intervention, and we shall do our best to fight the invaders,” an Al-Shabaab official told Somalia Report on condition of anonymity.
Analysts think that al-Shabaab have targeted Puntland because it has direct links with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Mogadishu, which is backed by 9,000 African Union (AU) troops.
Al-Shabaab leaders concluded a meeting in the southern town of Baidoa last week, where they declared to bolster their war against the UN-backed TFG of Somalia and its allies, such as Puntland, Ethiopia, Kenya and the African Union. Analysts suspect that Al-Shabaab discussed measures to weaken the Farole administration with assassinations of prominent clerics.
In 2010, Puntland security forces fought a three month war against Al Shabaab militants in Galgala Mountains, which ended when Puntland security forces overran the militant bases. The government enacted a Counterterrorism Law and several Al Shabaab members were jailed, sentenced or executed under the new law.