Military Court Sentenced Somali Commander to Death

Shariff Mohamed Barkhadle, a commander with the Somali National Army (SNA), is sentenced to death. Barkhadle has been found guilty of facilitating terrorist attacks on civilians. (IMAGE: Screengrab)

A Somali military court has found an army commander guilty of smuggling al-Shabab explosives into Mogadishu and selling weapons to the group.

The Mogadishu-based court  Thursday sentenced Shariff Mohamed Barkhadle, a commander with the Somali National Army (SNA), to death for his role in terrorist attacks on civilians.

Prosecutors said last week that the commander collaborated with al – Shabab in the execution of multiple attacks in Mogadishu in 2019, killing at least 100 people.

Barkhadle readily admitted to having commercial ties to the group through the sale of military arsenal to the group.

“I sold weapons. It’s the truth. I am not lying to the court. I sold two mortars to them,” said Barkhadle.

Prosecutors brought Close Circuit Television (CCTV) footage of a parked vehicle in front of a shop exploding and killing those nearby.

The court relied on the prosecution information, which included CCTV footage and the aftermath of several attacks allegedly facilitated by Barkhadle.

Government officials said ​a​l​-​Shabab said the targeted businesses whose owners refused to pay extortion fees.

Barkhadle told the court he joined​l​-​Shabab because he was fired from his military duties. However, the military attorney-general said he was gainfully employed while working for ​a​l​-​Shabab.

“To think that he admitted to having joined the ​a​l​-​Shabab on his own free will and requested to work for the group just because he was sacked from the military duties is quite absurd,” said the Attorney-General of the SNA, Abdullahi Bule Kamey.