Nine civilians were executed by a local militia in war-torn Somalia on 14 June in revenge for the death of an intelligence official earlier in the day.
The intelligence official was killed by the militant group Al-Shabaab, according to a statement from the police on Saturday (15th June).
The revenge attack, which happened on Friday just outside Galkayo – one of the most developed cities in central Somalia – targeted the members of Rahanweyn clan, who are accused of having members in Al-Shabaab.
“This incident was horrible, a gruesome killing against nine unarmed innocent civilians in southern Galkayo. All of the civilians belong to one clan. The gunmen shot them dead in one place a few minutes after suspected Al-Shabaab gunmen killed a member of the security forces,” Mohamed Abdirahman, a local police official, said.
“This is an unacceptable act and we will bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Hussein Dini, a traditional elder.
“Their killing cannot be justified. It seems that the merciless gunmen were avenging the security official who they believe was killed by Al-Shabaab fighters belonging to the clan of the victims.”
Witnesses told local media that the victims were rounded up from the streets or their homes and then shot dead on the outskirts of Galkayo.
Local officials had in the past accused the Rahanweyn clan of fomenting instability in the region by supplying fighters to Al-Shabaab.
Reports say that the local militia that staged the revenge attack is from the Saad Habargidir, a sub-clan of the Hawiye clan which is dominant in the southern part of the city.
Galkayo, situated about 600 kilometres (380 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu, straddles the border between Puntland and Galmudug regional states.
The city has been the scene of violent clashes between forces of the two regions in recent years.
It also witnessed violence between the two rival clans occupying its northern and southern districts.