Somali authorities have executed a 23-year-old man in Mogadishu for masterminding a bombing that killed about 600 people and injured hundreds more in the city exactly one year ago.
The explosion was one of the most devastating single strikes by Islamic militants in recent decades. Hassan Adan Isaq was shot by a firing squad early on Sunday, a Somali military judge said.
The convicted man was a veteran member of the al-Shabaab extremist group. He was arrested within days of the bombing and sentenced to death in February.
“He has killed hundreds as an Al-Shabaab member and today he was rewarded with a painful death,” Hassan Ali Nur, the judge, said.
The execution will concern human rights campaigners. Somalia receives significant military assistance from the US and the UK. Death sentences have been carried out increasingly often in the unstable eastern African state in recent years, with 24 executions in 2017.
Investigators believe the target for the huge bomb, which was mounted on a truck and driven into Mogadishu before being stopped by police at a busy crossroads in the city centre, was a newly opened Turkish military training facility in the heavily guarded airport zone, where most foreign militaries and embassies are based.
The crossroads was very busy with students, workers and shoppers. The bomb detonated next to a fuel tanker and a minibus full of schoolchildren. Despite efforts by the government to persecute perpetrators of terrorism, Somalia citizens have expressed the need to bring more of them to book.
“This is not enough. Only one person was executed,” said Hasan Mohamud Ali, 21, a Mogadishu resident whose grandfather was killed in the attack. “Where are the others who were arrested for the carnage of 14 October?”