Somalia Jails Elders for Meeting Al-Shabab

A military court in Mogadishu sentenced clan elders to five years each for meeting al-Shabab in Harardhere town, in central Somalia. (PHOTO: COURTESY)

Somalia’s military court on Sunday sentenced clan elders to five years in prison each for meeting with the al-Shabab militant group in Harardhere town in December.

The three elders Ali Ahmed Hayle Arale, Omar Mohamed Jimaale and Sugal Warsame Ali Yarow were sentenced to five years in prison for disobeying a government order banning the population dealing with al-Shabab. The Mogadishu-based military court also ordered police to monitor the elders movement after the completion of their prison terms.

Arale, Jimaale and Ali Yarow were detained on December 27, just days after meeting al-Shabab commanders stationed in Harardhere town to negotiate the release of 70 members of their clan held captive by the militants.

In exchange for the release of the clan members, the elders agreed not to support and join the government’s ongoing military offensive against the rebel group.

On January 16, the government forces and clan militias captured Harardhere town in Mudug region.