Mogadishu (Allbanaadir Media) – A former military trainer with the Somali National Army has been sentenced to 15 years in jail for sharing sensitive information with the Al-Qaeda-linked group Al-Shabab.
Abdiaziz Hussein Nur, 63, was found guilty of passing on critical details about the movements and operations of soldiers to the militant group, which has been fighting to maintain control of its bases.
The Somali military court noted that Nur’s extensive knowledge of military operations made him a valuable asset to the Al-Shabaab. The evidence presented in court led to his conviction, and the final sentencing is not subject to appeal.
The conviction of Nur has been hailed as a significant victory by members of the security forces. Al-Shabab has been using insider information to launch sophisticated retaliatory attacks.
Spying on the national army is the group’s traditional strategy to wage such attacks. They often use available information on the national army and foreign troops to launch attacks on various Forward Operating Bases across the country. Attacks on military bases are common in Somalia and are often attributed to insiders.
Execution of two soldiers convicted of killing civilians
In a related development, two soldiers, Qasim Duale and Hassan Juulle Shakir were executed by firing squad on Saturday after being sentenced to death by the Armed Forces Court for killing two innocent civilians in Mogadishu and Balcad in January.
The federal government of Somalia reserves the death penalty for individuals convicted of serious crimes, as it has very few civilian courts. The two soldiers had the opportunity to defend themselves. However, according to court documents, their defense team lost the case.
The government of Somalia has been working to improve the security situation in the country, which has been plagued by violence and instability for years.
Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre announced on January 7 that an investigation was underway into soldiers arrested on suspicion of facilitating a recent attack on the Villa Rays Hotel near the presidential palace in Mogadishu.
The hotel is located near the heavily fortified presidential palace and is popular with government officials. On November 27 last year, the extremist group Al-Shabab attacked the Villa Rays Hotel. The attack began with a suicide bombing, after which Al-Shabab fighters stormed the building.
Security forces could kill five of the attackers and rescue 60 civilians, but not before eight civilians were killed in the attack. One soldier was also killed, and five others were wounded in the operation to retake the hotel.
During an interview with state TV, the Prime Minister said, “We want a thorough investigation, but I can assure you that all those suspected have been arrested, and their investigation is underway.”
The Prime Minister did not specify the number of soldiers arrested in connection with the attack or when the investigation would be completed. No one has yet been brought to the court concerning the attack.