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Somalis warned to stop seeking justice in Al-Shabaab courts

Somalia’s justice system is still yet to take shape. The slow pace of legal reformation has made many Somalis to look for justice in the mobile courts operated by Al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group Al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab implements a strict and harsh interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, and new courts are being constituted in a bid to stop people from going to the Al-Shabaab courts.

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Justice in Somalia is still being sought in Al-Shabaab controlled areas where Sharia courts are in place. The only justice system in Somalia exists in the mobile courts operated by the Islamic militant group. They deliver justice swiftly and this has made more people seek the mobile courts out.

Somalia is a largely Islamic country and Al-Shabaab has been seeking to establish Sharia Law throughout the whole country. This led to African Union peacekeeping forces that were in support of the Somali government to fight against the insurgent group. Despite losing most of its territories to the AU, Al-Shabaab continues bombing different parts of the country.

According to the Human Rights Watch, in late May this year, Al-Shabaab burned numerous homes in raids on villages in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region. Al-Shabaab fighters abducted civilians, stole livestock, and committed arson in attacks that caused more than 15,000 people to flee their homes.

Read: Closing up regulatory gaps key in Somalia’s fight against al-Shabaab

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A billboard mural saying “Before the law, all people are equal” is fixed into place by a cooperative of artists along the approach road to Mogadishu International Airport as part of a project in cooperation with the Centre for Research and Dialogue (CRD) 2013_01_15. Photo: AU-UN IST PHOTO / STUART PRICE./Flickr

Al-Shabaab implements a strict and harsh interpretation of Islamic Sharia law and administers their punishment by flogging, amputating of hands, and decapitations. These practices are similar to what happens in Saudi Arabia. In an effort to stop people from going to the Al-Shabaab courts, the president of Somalia’s southern semi-autonomous region of Hirshabelle, Ali Abdullahi Osoble has launched Islamic courts, including court of appeals in the central town of Beledweyne, the regional capital of Hiiraan.

Read: Somalia: Mohamed Abdullahi inaugurated as new president

According to Shabelle News, Osoble said the new courts will offer fair judicial services for the local people, who previously used to seek justice from the Al Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab group. The state President announced that they formed a special forces to apply the decisions made by the new Islamic courts established in Beledweyne, and arrest anyone who ignores the orders.

Somalia has experienced decades of instability, resulting in many Somalis migrating to other East African countries. The country is trying to get back on its feet amidst inter-clan clashes and Al-Shabaab attacks.

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