BOSASSO, Somalia (Reuters) - Authorities in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region on Friday executed seven people it said were Islamist militants who plotted to carry out attacks, including bombings.
Awil Ahmed Farah, chairperson of the region's military court, said the accused were members of the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militant group fighting to overthrow the government in Mogadishu.
"The court executed seven fighters. They were shot dead today," he told reporters in the port city of Bosasso.
"Five of the militants were caught as they transported explosives into Bosasso. The other two militants killed people in Galkayo," Farah said, referring to another city in the region.
Al Shabaab's insurgency aims to topple Somalia's Western-backed government and impose its strict version of Islam on the Horn of Africa country.
The group has become more active in Puntland after being pushed out of strongholds further south by an African Union peacekeeping force and the Somali army.
Earlier this month, its fighters overran a military base in Af Urur, a town about 100 km (60 miles) south of Bosasso, killing at least 59 people.
Reporting by Abdiqani Hassan; Writing by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Janet Lawrence