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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Terror suspect who fled Britain ‘executed’ in Somalia

Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed identified as spy by Al Shabaab militants fighting to overthrow UN-backed government.

Islamist group Ak Shabaab hit a European Union armoured convoy in Mogadishu, Somalia, earlier this month. REUTERS  
Islamist group Ak Shabaab hit a European Union armoured convoy in Mogadishu, Somalia, earlier this month. REUTERS  

A terror suspect who fled Britain disguised as a woman in a burka has reportedly been killed by Al Shabaab militants in Somalia for spying.

The man, identified as Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed, was among five people shot dead in a public execution for espionage on behalf of Britain, the United States and Somalia, according to Al Shabaab officials.

Officials said that he travelled to the country to help establish ISIL but was arrested in 2015 as a suspected spy for MI6, the UK intelligence agency, and tortured while he was in prison, the Voice of America reported.

An Al Shabaab court in the town of Jilib, 350 kilometres southwest of the government-held capital Mogadishu, convicted the men on Tuesday and they were executed by firing squad in a square. Some of the men were accused of hiding homing devices to help US forces target airstrikes against the group’s leaders.

“Five of them were publicly shot to death this afternoon after they admitted espionage before the court,” Mohamed Abu Abdalla, Al Shabaab's governor for the Jubba regions, told Reuters.

Mr Mohamed, 32, came to public attention in Britain in 2013 after he fled from a mosque in west London, disguised as a woman, while he was being monitored by the security services.

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He was one of a handful of terror suspects subject to tight monitoring rules because he had previously received training and fought overseas for the Al Qaeda-linked group in Somalia. Mohamed was supposed to report daily to a police station and wear an electronic tag that tracked his movements, but he cut it off and walked away.

He had been suing the British government at the time of his flight after claiming that British officials were involved in their torture when he was arrested with another man in Somaliland in 2011.

Following the unsuccessful nationwide hunt for Mr Mohamed, officials believed that he headed to Somalia to join the extremist group. Little was heard of him until his apparent execution after officials claimed that he had been a ringleader for pro-ISIS factions within the group.

Neither Britain’s Foreign Office nor Mr Mohamed’s lawyers returned calls for comment.

Experts say that spying claims are routinely used against fellow militants to resolve power struggles within the group. Al Shabaab’s influence in the country has declined after being pushed out of the capital by African Union peacekeepers in 2011.

Al Shabaab is seeking to overthrow the weak UN-backed government and run the country based on strict Islamic laws. The country has been wracked by war for 27 years after clan warlords overthrew a dictator and then turned on each other.