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Somaliland military court sentences 17 civilians to death

A military court in Somalia's autonomous northern region of Somaliland has sentenced 17 civilians to death for attacking a military base, the BBC reports.

According to the report, 30 armed members of a clan attacked soldiers in a camp on Tuesday. Seven people, including three soldiers, were killed in the resulting firefight.

Following the attack, 28 people were arrested and held overnight. A military trial followed, in which three people were acquitted and the trial of three others was postponed.

Five minors were given life sentences, and the remaining 17 civilians were sentenced to death, after reportedly confessing to conducting the attacks.

According to the BBC, the attackers claimed the military had built on land that they had owned for generations. An attack on Somaliland's military carries a mandatory death penalty for adults, the BBC says.

Somaliland, a breakaway, semi-desert territory on the coast of the Gulf of Aden, has been spared by much of the violence plaguing Somalia, but the BBC says land disputes are common.

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