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Somalia's military court sentences man to death for role in attack

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

GALKAYO, Somalia - A Somali military court on Thursday sentenced to death a militant convicted of involving a deadly attack that killed 18 people in the central town last year, Garowe Online reports.

Abdullahi Ali Aden, 23, was accused of leading an Al-Shabab unit carried out a car bomb and gun attack in Galkayo, the regional capital of Mudug, targeting a compound run by controversial cleric Abdiweli Ali Elmi on Nov 23, 2018.

Two suicide bombers exploded in front of the preacher’s residence, which is also a Sufi shrine, and then four gunmen stormed the building and opened fire, killing the prominent cleric and 17 of his followers in the assault.

The Al-Qaeda-linked extremists claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they targeted a Muslim cleric who played music in religious ceremonies in his residence. At least 20 others were injured, including civilians.

Three attackers were killed in the shootout between the attackers and Somali security forces who responded to the attack and one was captured alive who was slapped with the death penalty by the court of the country’s armed forces.

The attack killed Sheikh Abdiweli Ali Elmi, who has hundreds of followers and has been controversial because videos show him and his followers chanting religious poems with music, which some extremists say is not Islamic.

The militant group wants to overthrow the weak, U.N.-backed government. It has steadily been losing territory since AU peacekeepers arrived in Somalia a decade ago, but still carries out frequent bombings in the capital.