Two sen­tenced to life for bomb­ing So­mali air­liner


MO­GADISHU: A So­mali mil­i­tary court on Mon­day jailed two men for life for their role in a botched lap­top bomb at­tack on an aero­plane claimed by the Al-Qaedalinked Shabab.

The Fe­bru­ary 2 blast left a me­ter-wide (three-foot) hole in the fuse­lage of the Daallo Air­lines plane shortly af­ter it took off from So­ma­lia’s main air­port in Mo­gadishu, killing only the sus­pected bomber and forc­ing an emer­gency land­ing.

Two of the 74 pas­sen­gers aboard were slightly in­jured.

Ab­di­weli Mo­hamud Ma­cow, a for­mer air­port se­cu­rity of­fi­cer, was found guilty of mas­ter­mind­ing the at­tack, said Lt. Col. Has­san Nur Shute, head of the mil­i­tary court.

“Ab­di­weli Mo­hamud to­gether with Areys Hashi Abdi, who is ab­sent, were found guilty as charged. The court sen­tences them to life im­pris­on­ment,” Shute said Mon­day.

Both men were also found guilty of be­ing mem­bers of the Shabab. Abdi dodged ar­rests and is on the run.

Of 10 oth­ers also on trial in con­nec­tion with the at­tack, five re­ceived up to four-year jail terms while the re­main­der were re­leased af­ter the court found them not guilty.

So­ma­lia’s mil­i­tary court has in the past reg­u­larly sen­tenced con­victed mem­bers of the Shabab to death by fir­ing squad.

The Shabab, which is fight­ing to over­throw the in­ter­na­tion­ally- backed gov­ern­ment in Mo­gadishu, claimed the Fe­bru­ary at­tack as “ret­ri­bu­tion for the crimes com­mit­ted by the coali­tion of Western cru­saders and their in­tel­li­gence agen­cies against the Mus­lims of So­ma­lia.”

The bomber had been sup­posed to board a Turk­ish Air­lines flight but the Turk­ish plane did not turn up, and Daallo Air­lines in­stead agreed to fly the pas­sen­gers to Dji­bouti.

Soon af­ter­wards So­mali in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials re­leased sur­veil­lance footage ap­pear­ing to show a pas­sen­ger be­ing given a lap­top in which the bomb was con­cealed.

The city’s air­port is heav­ily for­ti­fied and ad­joins the cap­i­tal’s main base of the African Union mis­sion to So­ma­lia, the 22,000-strong force back­ing the gov­ern­ment in the battle against Shabab in­sur­gents.

PUN­ISHED: Men ac­cused of be­ing be­hind a bomb blast that blew a hole in the fuse­lage of a plane bound for Dji­bouti in Fe­bru­ary, sit in a court in Mo­gadishu, So­ma­lia. (Reuters)

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