A court in the Somali capital Mogadishu has sentenced an official with the city's municipality to three years in prison for past membership of the al-Shabab militant group.
The court found that Nur Ali Ahmed (Mahad Alle) was a member of the terrorist organization and failed to follow the proper process to register himself as a defector when he left the group. He claimed he left al-Shabab in 2010.
During the hearing, Ahmed insisted that he reported his defection to the authorities but the court could not find a record of that. The court also established that prior to his appointment as Acting Director of Works for Mogadishu municipality; he also worked at Mogadishu's port and at one of the city's hospitals.
Ahmed was arrested following last July's explosion at the Mogadishu mayor's office, which killed the Mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman and seven other regional officials.
A blind female suicide bomber who was a senior aide to the late mayor as carried out the attack. The bomber went by the name Basira Abdi Mohamed although her real name was Maryam. The court released Maryam's brother who was ordered to regularly report his movement to authorities.
The court did not find evidence-linking Ahmed to the explosion that killed Mayor Osman, but his past connection with the group was established after an investigation by the security agencies.
The conviction indicates a pattern of al-Shabab's infiltration in administrations and social institutions, experts argue.
Just last month, the same court found a college teacher who is the son of a senior police officer guilty of being al-Shabab's operational leader of assassinations in Mogadishu for several years.
Mohamed Haji Ahmed was sentenced to death after being convicted of assassinating three generals, a police corporal and a deputy attorney general.
In the worst case, a top official in Somalia's National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), Abdisalam Mohamed Hassan, was found guilty in 2014 of providing photos of intelligence agents and other identifying data to al-Shabab. Hassan is now serving a life sentence.
Meanwhile, a roadside explosion killed three soldiers and injured two others in the southwest of Mogadishu, Sunday. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.
Source: Voice of America