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Somali court sentences former al Shabaab commander to death

Somali court sentences former al Shabaab commander to death

Somalia

A former media officer for the Somali Islamist group al Shabaab who arranged news conferences in the years when the militants controlled the capital Mogadishu was sentenced to death on Thursday for the murder of six local journalists.

Hasan Ali, chairman of the Somali military court, told reporters that Hassan Hanafi had admitted to killing one reporter and had been found guilty of killing five others. He also added that he will be executed soon.

On his defence, Ali admitted that al Shabaab has killed many journalists but he only murdered one.

Al Shabaab killed many journalists but personally I killed only one.

“Al Shabaab killed many journalists but personally I killed only one,” Hanafi said after the sentence was announced. “But I am indifferent if you kill me. You will see if killings will stop even after my death.”

The accused joined al Shabaab in 2008 when he was working as a journalist at a local media house in Somalia. A year later he was promoted to commander.

In 2010, he was reported to have been injured during the war. He was arrested in 2015 in neighbouring Kenya and later moved to Somalia where he faced the law.

Al Shabaab, linked to Al Qaeda, was pushed out of Mogadishu by the African Union peacekeeping forces in 2011 but has vowed to remain vigilant against the western backed government.

The group seeks to impose strict Sharia laws in Somalia, where they have conducted series of attacks on civilian, government forces as well as many international troops.

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