World Bulletin/News Desk
Somalia's northern Puntland province executed 13 suspected 'militants' on Tuesday, a military court official said, and security forces deployed heavily in the coastal city of Bosasso to ward off any reprisal attacks.
Squeezed out of their strongholds in southern and central Somalia by a military offensive, al Shabaab rebels have slowly infiltrated Puntland, a semi-autonomous region.
"We shot to death 13 prisoners including a woman," Abdifatah Haji Aden, chairman of Puntland's military court, told reporters in Bosasso.
"They all pleaded guilty to being al Shabaab members and carrying out the killings of several prominent clerics in the region."
Al Shabaab said Puntland had not detained any of their combattants. Those shot dead by firing squad were innocent civilians, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, spokesman for the rebels' military operations, told Reuters.
"Puntland massacred innocent Muslims," al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said in an audio recording posted late on Tuesday on www.somalimemo.net, a website linked to the rebel group. "We shall avenge them. All those who spied, bore false witness, judged, and shot them will face a tough punishment."
Puntland's authorities act largely independently of the Mogadishu government as the country emerges from two decades of civil conflict that has left it without an effective central administration.Last Mod: 01 Mayıs 2013, 12:30