Seven ‘spies’ beheaded in Somalia

In Somalia today, seven people were executed by the fanatic Islamic insurgency for being spies and followers of Christianity. The group responsible for the beheadings is Al Shabaab (Youth in Arabic), a rebel faction affiliated with Al Qaeda.

Map of SomaliaAl Shabaab is committed to overthrowing the Somali government and imposing Sharia – Islamic law – in its most strict, severe form. The group currently presides over large areas of southern Somalia as well as parts of the capital, Mogadishu. They say that their aim is to free Somalia from a western-supported government that Somalis themselves do not support.

In Al Shabaab-controlled areas, women are forced to wear veils, cinemas have been closed down and the punishment for theft is the severing of a limb. Today’s killings, carried out in the south-central town of Baidoa, are justified by the rebels as keeping with the dictates of Islamic law. They are not the first of their kind, but it is the first time so many have been beheaded all at once.

Last month, Al Shabaab beheaded 3 others in the same region.

The government has not been able to quell the rebels, who – surprise, surprise – employ guerilla tactics against the country’s military and African Union (AU) forces.

Somalia believes that the militancy is ignited by Al Shabaab’s foreign element. Apparently 100s of pro-Sharia folk are streaming into Somalia, to help the rebel movement overthrow Somalia’s current leader, an ex-rebel himself.

Kenyan fighters in Somali insurgencySomali Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Omaar, in fact, believes foreigners are to blame for all the unrest: “The current war is a foreign war led and supported by outside forces. The money and ideologies are foreign-based. Somalis all support the government.” Sounds a little naïve to suggest that ALL Somalis support the government, but there does seem to be truth in the formidable force of the foreign element.

The UN has had serious words with Eritrea, whom they believe to be supporting the insurgents against the Ethiopia-backed Somali government (Ethiopia and Eritrea are enemies). Eritrea denies involvement, but the African Union has called for sanctions against the country.

Since the previous Islamist movement was curbed in 2006, its resuscitated form has taken the lives of 18,000 civilians. The UN accuses Al Shabaab of hiding behind civilians in battle, which is a little trick that other militant groups like Al Qaeda and Hamas are proponents of as well.

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