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Former Al Shabab Spokesman Executed by Firing Squad in Somalia

by / / Source: Reuters
Journalist Hassan Hanafi, convicted of murdering colleagues for the Al-Qaeda-linked al Shabab group, is tied to a wooden post before being executed by firing squad at a police academy square in Mogadishu on April 11, 2016.MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB / AFP - Getty Images

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A former media officer for the Somali Islamist group al Shabab was publicly executed by a government firing squad on Monday for ordering the death of six journalists, court officials said.

Hassan Hanafi, who arranged news conferences for the al Qaeda-linked Islamist group when the militants controlled the capital Mogadishu, admitted during his trial to personally killing one journalist in Somalia.

Hanafi is tied to a wooden post before his execution by firing squad which remains the only execution method in Somalia.Farah Abdi Warsameh / AP

A masked Hanafi was tied to a pole before government forces opened fire at an execution field at a police training camp, according to witnesses.

Since 1992 a total of 59 journalists have been killed in Somalia, according to industry body, the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The body of Hassan Hanafi is carried away after he was executed by firing squad in the Somali capital Mogadishu.Farah Abdi Warsameh / AP

Al Shabab seeks to impose its strict version of sharia, Islamic law, in Somalia, where it frequently attacks government targets, as well as hotels and restaurants in the capital. The group was pushed out of Mogadishu by African Union peacekeeping forces in 2011 but controls many rural areas in southern Somalia.

Hanafi, 30, admitted joining al Shabaab in 2008 when he worked as a journalist for a local broadcaster. He was arrested in neighboring Kenya last year and returned to Somalia for trial.

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