Somali Governor Calls for the Execution Al Shabaab family members

Hiran region governor Ali Jeyte visiting Somali national army and local militias near Moqokori town. (PHOTO CREDIT: SONNA)

Somali government official leading an anti-Shabaab offensive in the Hiran region called for the killings of the families and relatives of the insurgent group members.

Governor of Hiran region Ali Jayte was addressing fighters leading the offensive against the militant group Al-Shabaab. He directed his troops to hunt down Al-Shabaab family members.

“I want you to kill the mothers and wives of Al-Shabaab members. And also kill your close relatives you know are members of Al-Shabaab,” says Jeyte.

Amnesty International Somalia researcher Abdullahi Hassan says there is no law that permits targeting of people who are not directly involved in the conflict.  

“Pronouncements by officials from the Somali government allegedly encouraging their forces to target wives and other relatives of Al-Shabaab members who are not taking part in hostilities is worrying,” Hassan told Horn Dispatch. “Targeting of civilians who are not participating in hostilities is a violation of international humanitarian law and at times could amount to war crimes. Both Al-Shabaab and government forces and their allies are therefore required to spare civilians and civilian objects during hostilities.”

Visibly angry, Jeyte told troops he would reward them for killing members of Al-Shabaab.

“Whoever kills one Al-Shabaab member, I will reward him $5,000. If you kill an Al-Shabaab leader, I will reward him $10,000. And the person who kills one of the top leaders like Ali Dhere I will reward him $25,000.. Who is ready to work and we will reward him? ” Jeyte asked.

The Hiran region has seen the worst fighting between the local militias supported by government forces and al-Shabab militants. In August, the government launched a military offensive to wrestle more territory from the militants.

Al-Shabaab continues to carry out attacks against security agencies and the population.  

Hassan says in the case of Somalia, both government and allied forces, including regional and international actors, and the armed group Al-Shabaab, are required to respect international law and not target civilians.