Somaliland executes six convicts over links to Al-Shabaab
HARGEISA, Somaliland - Somaliland has on Wednesday executed six convicts for murder and terrorism, the autonomous region's human rights groups said.
The six had been dragged to court and prosecuted for terrorism and murder, crimes which they committed within a long period, state media had said.
Guleid Ahmed Jama, the Human Rights Center official, said the six men were executed on Wednesday over linked to Al-Shabaab group.
Convicts had Al-Shabaab links
Contrary to Somalia, Somaliland rarely witnesses Al-Shabaab raids given stringent security measures established by the breakaway region.
“Somaliland executed this morning six men. The executions were carried out by fire squad at Mandheera prison," Jama said, adding that "they were linked to Al-Shabaab".
Since 2016, Jama said, Wednesday's executions were the first related to Al-Shabaab in the semi autonomous region of Somaliland.
While not much has been given by the authorities over the executions, individuals linked to the terror group have often faced wrath from the state.
Al-Shabaab menace in Horn of Africa
Muse Bihi Abdi, the president of the region, has managed to keep the Al-Shabaab militants at bay, using well equipped military and intelligence team.
The Hargeisa executions may not attract condemnation from human rights groups given the menace created by Al-Shabaab, analysts say.
Al-Shabaab militants have caused havoc across Somalia and neighboring states like Kenya, killing dozens in the process, US Africa Command said.
For instance, the group claimed responsibility in the deadly Mogadishu attack last month, which left at least 90 people dead, state media reported.
Al-Shabaab condemned by Human Rights Watch
Wednesday's executions come amid Human Rights Watch report which linked Al-Shabaab to brutal assassinations and executions targeting civilians.
The militants, the report says, "executed after unfair trials individuals it accused of working or spying for the government and foreign forces."
With the media reporting an uptick in executions mid-year, Human Rights Watch said, Al-Shabaab also extorted tax using threats.
Previously, the group used charcoal trade to generate income before resorting to mafia-style taxation tactics, UN Panel of Experts said.
Somaliland also put on spot
But even more worringly, Somaliland has also been put on spot over alleged gross violation of human rights and other draconian activities.
The Somaliland government, the reports said, "severely restricted reporting and free expression on issues deemed controversial or overly critical of the authorities."
In recent weeks, cases of journalists being detained or held incommunicado by the authorities have been regular in Hargeisa.
Opposition critics have not been spared either by the government with a number of them arbitrarily arrested and detained without trial.
On January 12, poet Abdirahman Ibrahim Adan (known as "Abdirahman Abees") was arbitrarily arrested and charged with “insulting the police” after he highlighted various due process abuses in Somaliland.
Last month, three opposition leaders from Waddani party were also arrested in Hargeisa before being taken to Mandera for detention, local media said.