MOGADISHU - Somalia's Shebab militants have executed four people accused of spying for the United States, Ethiopia and the country's internationally-backed government, officials and witnesses said.
The executions by firing squad took place at a square in the town of Bardhere, a Shebab stronghold in Somalia's southwestern region of Gedo, late Tuesday, and came a week after the US said it had killed the Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants' intelligence chief in an air strike.
"One of the spies worked with the CIA and facilitated the killing of an Al-Shebab commander," a Shebab judge in the town said before the four were shot dead.
According to the judge, another one of those executed had been aiding US operations in Barawe, a port town and former Shebab stronghold that was captured last year by Somali and African Union forces, while the other two worked for Ethiopian intelligence and Somalia's security agency.
"After hearing the charges against the four and their confession, the Islamic court sentenced them to the death penalty," the judge said.
A local witness, Ali Ronow, said hundreds of local watched the execution.
"The men were blindfolded and shot from the back by a team of hooded gunmen," he said.
"All of them had their hands tied behind their backs when brought on a pickup truck and they were also hooded. They were shot indiscriminately with machine guns," said Muktarey, another witness.
Last week the United States conducted an air strike in Saacow, 320 kilometres (200 miles) west of the capital Mogadishu and in the Middle Juba region, and Somali officials said Shebab intelligence chief Abdishakur Tahlil was killed along with two other militants.
The Shebab's former leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was also killed by a US air strike in September 2014.