Somalia's military court sentences jail terms to foreign Al-Shabaab fighters
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia's military court on Thursday jailed two foreign fighters over links to Al-Shabaab militants, in the latest judgment which could be the most memorable this year, as the Horn of Africa nation struggles with violent extremism.
The military court hailed a British citizen, Dereton Antonio Perez, 44, and Malaysian, Ahmed Mustaqim bin Abdihamid, 34, to 15 years in prison after they were found guilty of recruiting foreigners for the terror group of Alshabab.
Last week, the two appeared before trial judge Hassan Ali Nor Shuute, who has been the most efficient judge in the federal republic of Somalia. The judge is credited for his robust judgments in Al-Shabaab-related trials.
"The Armed forces court has today sentenced two foreigners, a British citizen, Dereton Antonio Perez, 44, and Malaysian, Ahmed Mustaqim bin Abdihamid, 34, to 15 years in prison after they were found guilty of recruiting foreigners for the terror-group of Alshabab," state media reported.
The military court said Dereton Antonio Perez had worked with several al-Shabab leaders, planned attacks in France, and taken part in many battles inside Somalia.
Meanwhile, the military court said that Ahmed Mustaqim Bin Abdihamid, a Malaysian known as Al-Ansar, joined Al-Shabaab in 2009 and took part in the Al-Shabaab insurgency in Galgadud region against Ahlu Sunna Wal-Jamaa.
The military tribunal also sai Darren Anthony Byrness and Ahmed Mustaqim bin Abd al-Hamid had left al-Shabaab to join ISIS, but their sea voyage to Yemen had succeeded. On April 18, 2019, he was captured by Puntland forces and handed over to the Somali government.
Al-Shabaab has often used foreign nationals to carry out attacks within and outside the country. For instance, the group recently confirmed that Kenyan nationals took part in the raid at Amaara military base in the Central part of the country last month.
In January this year, the militants also confirmed that a number of foreign fighters especially from Kenya took part in the raid at Manda Bay military base in Kenya which is run by Americans. The raid left three Americans dead but the military managed to kill five terrorists.
Somalia has intensified the fight against Al-Shabaab and IS-Somalia extremists. The courts are playing an important role in shaping law and order, with suspects often arraigned and subjected to intense trial where evidence is tabled before judgment.
Also, the group has lost grip in several areas following sophisticated operations run jointly by Somali National Army [SNA] and other partners such as AMISOM and the US Africa Command. Several countries have invested massively in the fight against Al-Shabaab in Somalia.