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Den ekstremistiske al-Shabaab-militsen i Somalia halshogde sju mennesker fredag for «spionasje og kristen tro». Militsens styre preges mer og mer av ekstrem vold og barbari.

«Al-Shabaab told us that they were beheaded for being Christian followers and spies,» a relative said after the killings. A witness described seeing the decapitated bodies in the back of a lorry in the town of Baidoa.

The killings were the largest number to take place at one time. They were the latest in a series of beheadings, amputations and stonings to death ordered by al-Shabaab, which is accused of having links to al-Qaeda and is listed as a terrorist organisation by the US.

In areas that al-Shabaab controls, including most of southern Somalia and much of Mogadishu, numerous others accused of collaborating with the Government or committing crimes such as adultery, rape, theft or murder have been publicly executed, flogged or had amputations ordered in recent weeks.

«This is a worrying new development,» Roger Middleton, a Somalia analyst at Chatham House, the British foreign policy think-tank, said. «It shows that al-Shabaab is willing to use these kind of extreme punishments and that the Government has no ability to influence events on the ground in places where it has no military presence.»
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Last month four teenagers who were accused of theft each had a hand and a foot amputated in Mogadishu and in the southern town of Wanlaweyn a married man accused of rape and murder was buried up to his neck in sand and stoned to death by ten masked men.

In October last year a 13-year-old victim of gang rape was convicted of adultery in a Sharia court and stoned to death in the town of Kismayo, controlled by al-Shabaab, near the Kenyan border. The brutality of this informal justice has outraged human rights activists.
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They have forced women to wear veils, banned dances and other events at which men and women mix and outlawed the chewing of khat, a popular drug.

Analysts said that an influx of hundreds of foreign jihadis from Britain, Pakistan and elsewhere has further radicalised al-Shabaab and transformed it into a more effective guerrilla force.

With the help of foreign fighters al-Shabaab began a fresh offensive in May, carrying out at least one suicide attack, in which a senior minister was killed in Beledweyne, near Ethiopia.

From The Times
July 11, 2009
Seven Somalis beheaded by extremists for ‘spying for government