SOMALIA: AL SHABAAB DENY BEHEADINGS REPORT
|Islamist Al-Shabaab rebels
July 12, 2009: Islamist hardliners in southern Somalia have rejected media reports that seven men convicted of spying were beheaded, Radio Garowe reports.
Sheikh Mahad Omar, the new Al Shabaab chief in Bay and Bakool regions, admitted that a group of men were brought to court and convicted of 'spying for the government.'
But he denied reports that the men were punished by being beheaded. The Associated Press had reported on July 11 that seven men were convicted of spying and beheaded in Baidoa, capital of Bay region.
Sheikh Mahad said "misinformation was spread by Western news agencies," whom he accused of being "anti-Islam."
Al ShabaabÂ guerrillas control much of south-central Somalia and are fighting to overthrow the country's Western-backed interim government, which is holed up in a few pockets of Mogadishu. (Sources: Garowe Online, 12/07/2009)