Somali terrorists kill leading imam and 17 worshippers for playing music during religious ceremonies

Sheikh Abdiweli Ali Elmi had previously said music is not contrary to Islam

Sheikh Abdiweli Ali Elmi was killed at his home in Galkayo
Sheikh Abdiweli Ali Elmi was killed at his home in Galkayo

A prominent Somali imam and 17 worshippers have been killed by extremists in the northern city of Galkayo after playing music as part of their religious ceremonies, police have said.

On Monday two suicide bombers detonated explosives in front of Sheikh Abdiweli Ali Elmi’s residence, which is also a Sufi shrine, and then four gunmen stormed the building and opened fire, said Ahmed Awale, a police officer in Galkayo.

At least 20 others were injured, he said.

Somali security forces rushed to the scene, leading to exchanges of heavy gunfire in the building.

Three of the four attackers were killed in the shootout and one was captured alive, the police said.

Somalia‘s extremist rebels, al-Shabab, have claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sheikh Elmi has hundreds of followers but generated controversy after publishing videos showing him and his followers chanting religious poems with music, which some extremists say is not Islamic.

The imam defended his actions, saying music is not contrary to Islamic teachings.

In a separate attack on Monday, a car bomb was detonated at a busy junction in Somalia’s capital city.

The blast, which took place in Mogadishu’s Wadajir district, injured 15 people and appeared to have been aimed at soldiers who were gathered at the junction, said Captain Mohamed Hussein.

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