FILE – Hundreds of newly trained al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises near Mogadishu, Somalia.
Al-Shabab insurgents in Somalia have beheaded two government soldiers they captured on Saturday near the town of Mahaday, 35 kilometers north of Jowhar, and the provincial capital of Middle Shabelle region, officials and witnesses told VOA.
The head of the Somali National Army 30th contingent, which operates in the region, Lt. Col. Omar Ali Adow, told VOA’s Somali service about the soldiers’ beheadings.
“The militants intercepted a civilian passenger vehicle in which the two government soldiers were traveling. They [the soldiers] were off duty, un-uniformed and unarmed. They [the militants] forced them to get out off the car, took them to a nearby village and beheaded them,” Adow said.
He added that the soldiers left a government military camp in Biya Ade village and headed to Jowhar for family emergencies. He identified them as Mowlid Hussien and Ahmed Ya’qub.
The executions took place early Saturday morning at Qura’a Madobe village, where dozens of residents, mostly women and children, watched as the militants beheaded the soldiers.
“They brought the men in front of a tea restaurant in the village. They told the residents they were captured enemy soldiers. One of the militants read a Quranic verse, and then two knife-wielding militants dressed in military camouflage got off a vehicle and beheaded the two men,” a witness told VOA on the condition of the anonymity.
The beheadings came a day after the militants killed a member of U.S. Special Forces and wounded three other members of an American team assisting Somali soldiers.
The Navy SEAL who died in the operation against al-Shabab was the first American service member killed in combat in the country since a battle in 1993 that inspired the book and movie Black Hawk Down.