11 Jan 2011

Somali terrorists publicly execute two girls they say were spies, many more teens being held captive

New York Times - October 28, 2010

Somali Islamists Kill Two Girls Branded Spies


MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somalia’s most powerful Islamist insurgents, the Shabab, executed two teenage girls on Wednesday after deciding they were spies, setting off fears among residents, officials and witnesses said.

The two teenagers — one 18, the other 14 — were shot by firing squad in the center of the town of Beledweyne, near the border with Ethiopia, witnesses said.

Pickup trucks with big loudspeakers drove into the town, ordering the residents to watch the execution. Residents were also told to switch off their cellphones and were warned not to take pictures, a prohibition that has been enforced at some Islamist executions in the past.

“The teenage girls were executed in the regional headquarters at the center of the town. Some of the women who were watching fainted at the scene,” said Abukar Elmi, a witness. “This is a shocking event.”

The Shabab official in the town, Sheik Yusuf Ali Ugas, told local journalists that “the two girls were found guilty of spying for the Ethiopian government.”

Ethiopia invaded Somalia in 2006 to oust an Islamist movement that had taken control of much of the country, including the capital, Mogadishu. Thousands of Ethiopian soldiers remained in Somalia for the next three years before withdrawing, and some of the Somali government forces fighting the Shabab in the Beledweyne area are supported by the Ethiopian government.

Mr. Ugas said the teenagers were not the only ones in Shabab custody, adding, “There are many people now in Shabab prisons in Beledweyne.”

He also sent a warning to Ethiopia, saying that the Shabab knew “all the informants serving for the Ethiopian government.”

Townspeople argued that the two teenage girls were innocent. The girls, they said, were traveling away from their families when they were caught in a cross-fire just outside Beledweyne, where both government forces and the Shabab are positioned. Many Somalis try to reach Yemen and Saudi Arabia to find better opportunities there and escape from the violence in this country.

“When the fighting started between the Shabab and the government forces just outside Beledweyne, the girls had to flee to the bush, where they were finally caught,” said a resident whose name was withheld for his safety. “I think they were executed because they were caught at the front line.”

The Somali transitional federal government strongly condemned the public execution, arguing that the two girls had not been given the right to a legal defense, nor had their parents even been informed.

“This execution is yet another human rights abuse committed by the criminals,” the Somali government said. “This act of killing innocent children does not have Islamic and humanitarian justifications.”

The Shabab have been responsible for many human rights violations in the areas they control. In 2008, for instance, they stoned to death a rape victim in the port town of Kismayo.

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1 comment:

  1. A young Somali lured into a life of death

    By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times November 11, 2011

    Reporting from Nairobi, Kenya— When his parents were killed in a rocket attack, the only person to show a lonely Somali boy named Abdi any kindness, or say a caring word, was a family friend named Abdufazil. The man bought him meat and camel milk. Then he sent the 13-year-old to a training camp to become a suicide bomber. Abdufazil was a commander of the militant Islamist militia Shabab in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, and he told the boy that Christians had killed his parents. He and other Shabab fighters urged him to take revenge for the attack.

    "I wanted to do it," said Abdi, a slight, awkward boy with large round eyes and shabby, too-small clothes. Lying on his thin mattress in the camp in southern Somalia last year, the yearning for his parents was so deep that it hurt. He longed for someone to love and protect him. "I used to wake up and think of my parents and remember that I was alone," said Abdi, whose surname is not being used, to protect him from possible reprisal. "That was the first thing I would think every day."

    He had one constant companion. "Death would always be there," he said. "I was always afraid of death. I was always thinking, 'When will I die?' " Now 14, he has escaped from the camp and lives in Nairobi's Eastleigh neighborhood, a throbbing hub of Somali immigrants where boys, ankle deep in mud, push heavy carts in narrow streets lined with kiosks selling camel milk, rice and pasta. He has to share a mattress in a tiny room; when the other tenant goes to work during the day, Abdi can sleep. At night, he hangs out in the streets, begging for food or coins.

    Abdi is Kenya's worst nightmare: a trained suicide bomber in the heart of the capital, illiterate, alienated, hungry, bored, despairing. There's a tribe of young men like him in this country, fodder for extremist clerics preaching the glories of holy war and sacrifice. The potential for violence escalated exponentially last month when Kenya, which had never invaded another country, pushed into Somalia to destroy the Shabab. The surprise military operation, critics say, had more to do with the United States' counter-terrorism policy than any major threat to Kenya.

    The Shabab immediately vowed to unleash major suicide bombings in Kenya. So far, the Somalia incursion has widespread support in Kenya, but analysts say that may evaporate if the Shabab does carry out retaliatory attacks. The promised strikes could come from young Shabab fighters trained in Somali terrorist camps. Most, like Abdi, were recruited in Somalia, but many also are from Kenya and neighboring countries.

    Young Kenyans, some converts to Islam from Christianity, are given a cellphone and $5,000 to join the Shabab, along with a promise that their families will get the same amount monthly, said Phyllis Muema, director of the Kenya Community Support Center, a not-for-profit group in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa that works on rehabilitating Somali fighters. After they join, the recruits' phones and ID cards are taken and some families never hear from them again. The families are told that their sons have been killed, said Sheik Juma Ngao, a moderate imam in Mombasa, who said young people were used as cannon fodder in battles.

    "They teach them to kill," Ngao said during a recent visit to Nairobi. "The youths are just duped, and when they go there they're militarized. It isn't easy to escape. If they try to come back to their country, they're killed." ....

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