February 6, 2018 / 2:37 PM / 2 months ago

Somali military court sentences man to death for role in major bombing

MOGADISHU, Feb 6 (Reuters) - A Somali military court on Tuesday sentenced to death a man convicted of driving a truck bomb as part of a deadly attack that killed more than 500 people in the capital, Mogadishu, in October, the national news agency reported.

The driver of one of two truck bombs was killed when his vehicle exploded next to a petrol tanker at a busy junction in downtown Mogadishu.

Hundreds of people died in the conflagration.

The second vehicle, driven by Hasan Aden Isak, detonated after soldiers ordered the driver to get out of his vehicle at a checkpoint. It killed two people.

“Hasan Aden Isak was sentenced to death and Abdullahi Hassan Absuge was sentenced to life imprisonment,” said the Somali military court chairman, Hassan Ali Nur, according to the Somali News Agency. Reporters were not permitted to cover the trial.

The part played by Absuge, who was sentenced in absentia, in the attacks was not clear.

The Oct. 14 bombing sparked angry street protests against al Shabaab, the al Qaeda-linked militant group that carries out most of the bombings in Somalia.

Al Shabaab never claimed responsibility for the attack.

The militant group wants to overthrow the weak, U.N.-backed government and impose strict Islamic law. It has steadily been losing territory since African Union peacekeepers arrived in Somalia a decade ago, but still carries out frequent bombings in the capital. (Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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