Somalia’s al-Shabab says it has killed British spy

October 11, 2018 3:21 AM

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Somali militant group al-Shabab says it has killed five men it accuses of spying – one of them for the UK.

According to a jihadi website, he had admitted giving information to British intelligence services about al-Shabab supporters living in the UK.

The five men, aged between 22 and 36, were shot dead in a public execution on Tuesday in an area under the control of the Islamist group.

That individual is alleged to have attached a device to a vehicle in an al-Shabab convoy which had then helped American drones to carry out an air strike.

Al-Shabab told Reuters news agency that three of the men were US spies who had helped guide drones to carry out strikes in Somalia.

The UK, US and Somali governments have not yet commented on the reports.

The identity of the alleged British spy has not yet been confirmed, despite earlier reports that he was a British national.

BBC correspondents say it is possible they were targeted for reasons of their religion, since the militant group has singled out Christians during previous attacks in Kenya.

Al-Shabab, which is part of al-Qaeda, was forced out of the capital, Mogadishu, in 2011 by a combination of Somali government forces and African Union troops but it still operates freely in many rural parts of southern Somalia, where it often enforces Islamic law, or Sharia.

In December 2017, al-Shabab killed five men, among them a teenage boy, whom it accused of working for US and Kenyan intelligence.

As well as battling for control of Somalia, al-Shabab has staged terror attacks in some neighbouring countries.

There are 500 US troops in Somalia supporting the UN-backed government against the militants. A smaller number of British soldiers are also deployed there.

In recent years the US has carried out regular air strikes on targets in Somalia. These have been led by Africom, a body established in 2007 to run all of the US’s military operations in Africa.

It is unclear how many active missions Africom currently has, but US media reported that it had carried out a total of 674 operations across the continent in 2014.

The biggest number of troops by far – 22,000 – has been supplied by the African Union’s Mission in Somalia (Amisom).


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