The al-Qaeda linked Somali group al-Shabaab claimed on Wednesday to have killed five men who were spying for the governments of Somalia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The five men were shot in public on Tuesday, October 9, according to Mohamed Abu Abdalla, a Shabaab official in the Middle Juba region.
Al-Shabaab announced the executions on its Andalus radio station, saying they were carried out in a public square in the town of Jilib, Nigeria’s Today reported.
Another man was executed for spying for giving information to the British government about Shabaab supporters in the U.K., the BBC reported.
Three of the men spied for the United States and helped direct drones strikes in Somalia, while a fourth was working for the Somali government, Abdalla said.
“Five of them were publicly shot to death this afternoon after they admitted espionage before the court,” the Mirror reported him as saying.
The Defense Post is withholding the reported names of the victims.
“Al-Shabaab regularly propagates false messaging in order to undermine Somalia’s stability, security, and governance. Because of its disinformation campaigns, we do not comment on or respond to al-Shabaab reports unless otherwise confirmed by credible sources,” a U.S. Department of State spokesperson told The Defense Post.
The U.K. Foreign Office said it had no comment.
Africa Command, the command responsible for U.S. military operations in Somalia, did not respond to requests.
Al-Shabaab is fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government in Mogadishu, but has also carried out attacks in neighboring Kenya, which has deployed troops as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia.
Africom regularly carries out airstrikes against al-Shabaab in Somalia. On Tuesday, it said an earlier U.S. airstrike near Kunyo Barrow in the Lower Shabelle killed one militant.
Both U.S. and Somali forces have come under attack from al-Shabaab in recent weeks.