Several hundred residents in the town of Ceel Buur–located in the Galguduud region of Somalia–witnessed the execution of Faarax Maxamed Wehliye–the son of former Ceel Buur District Commissioner Maxamed Wehliye.
Some onlookers dispersed “in fear and worry” after the head of al-Shabaab court system Osman Abu Khalid gave the order to the firing squad to execute Wehliye.
Though Ethiopian and Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa (ASWJ) troops initially forced al-Shabaab out of Ceel Buur in late March, al-Shabaab has controlled the town since 12 June 2012 after forces allied with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) were forced to “tactically withdraw” from Ceel Buur.
Since re-establishing control of Ceel Buur, al-Shabaab has carried out several acts of retributive violence against residents who may have provided support to allies of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) .
Directly after re-taking Ceel Buur last month, the terrorist group reportedly beheaded 10 people who purportedly were working with TFG-allied forces–including a local religious leader and innocent members of his family, according to witnesses.
Clan and Credibility Issues
ASWJ forces in particular–who are comprised of mainly Marehan, Ayr, and Dir clan elements–have had a difficult time re-taking Ceel Buur because the group has very little clan support in the area.
The Galjecel, Murusade, and Duduble clans that live near Ceel Buur see ASWJ as potentially hostile forces since their clans are not represented in the group. Additionally, ASWJ recently has been responsible for equally dubious applications of justice in areas of northern Galguduud.
As a result, al-Shabaab has been able to maintain support in the town despite the spate of recent executions.