By Harun Maruf | VOA,

A 44-year-old man has been stoned to death by the al-Shabab militant group in Rama Addey town in southern Somalia’s Bay region, reports say.

The al-Shabab militant group on its official website said the man was convicted for adultery in Ufurow town, 60 kilometers west of Baidoa. Al-Shabab said the relatives of the woman involved reported the case on May 20.

In an audio posted on the website Sunday, an al-Shabab judge says the man identified as Dhayow Mohamed Hassan confessed to adultery while being married to two women. The militant judge accused the man of impregnating a woman outside of marriage. The judge proclaimed his sentence was stoning to death upon confession. There is no independent confirmation of the confession and al-Shabab has not published any evidence.

Al-Shabab courts are not public and it’s hard to verify confessions and other allegations against the defendants. It’s not the first time the group has carried out this kind of punishment.

Scholar condemnation

Somali religious scholar Sheikh Abdirahman Sharif says the stoning is unlawful and says the group has no authority to carry out such punishment.

“First of all, who gave them the authority to carry out this [stoning]? Are they legitimate? They do not have legitimacy,” he said. “They were born out of aggression, they are unjust group and did not come through the right path. How can an illegal entity claim to be implementing laws? It’s contradicting.”

Sharif who is the Imam of Darul Hijra mosque in Minneapolis dismissed al-Shabab’s claim the victim had confessed to the adultery allegations.

“If you threaten someone, torture them, that is not a confession; there has to be a transparency. The evidence that shows this man has confessed without intimidation has to be made public,” he said.

“Only al-Shabab is reporting that he confessed, only they have passed the judgement and only they have executed the punishment … they have done all that while they are not legitimate. These are religious bandits.”

Sharif said those subjected to al-Shabab sentences and punishments do not have the right to contest or argue against accusations made against them.

Shooting at food distribution point

Meanwhile, two people were shot dead and 15 others were wounded after a gunman opened fire on internally displaced people waiting for food distribution at a feeding center in Abudwaq town, Central Somalia. Witnesses said the gunman had an argument with the guards at the feeding center before the shooting.

Community leader Muse Mohamed Ahmed described the incident to VOA Somali.

“This morning an Islamic organization brought food for the displaced, they registered the people and have started to distribute the food when a man approached the gate and attempted to get in.”

Ahmed said the man was refused entry by the guards because he did not have a registration card. After an argument the man returned to a car, pulled out a gun and started shooting, witnesses said.

VOA Somali reporter in Abudwaq, Abdikafi Yusuf Aden, says most of the wounded are elderly, including women. Children are also among the wounded, he said.

The gunman escaped from the scene after the shooting, witnesses said.

The town is hosting a large number of people displaced by droughts. Some of the displaced crossed the border from Ethiopia in search of food and water.

The director of the town’s hospital said those badly wounded in the incident were sent to Mogadishu and Galkayo for treatment.