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Al-Shabab militants kill Somali cleric, followers over music at religious gatherings Open in fullscreen

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Al-Shabab militants kill Somali cleric, followers over music at religious gatherings

The al-Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for the attack [AFP]

Date of publication: 26 November, 2018

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Somali militants Al-Shabab have claimed responsibility for the killing of a Sufi cleric and 17 of his followers, in the north of the country.

A prominent Muslim leader and at least 17 of his followers were killed by extremists on Monday for having music in their religious ceremonies in Somalia's northern city of Galkayo, police have said.

Four gunmen stormed the preacher's residence, which is also a Sufi shrine, after two suicide bombers detonated their explosives outside the building, said Galkayo policeman Ahmed Awale. At least 20 others were injured, he said.

Somali security forces responded and there was a battle with heavy gunfire in the building. Three attackers were killed in the shootout and one was captured alive, said Awale.

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

The attack killed Sheikh Abdiweli Ali Elmi, who has hundreds of followers and has been controversial because videos show him and his followers chanting religious poems with music, which some extremists say is not Islamic.

Sheikh Elmi had defended his actions, saying music is not contrary to Islamic teachings.

In much of the Muslim world, Sufism has for centuries been accepted and practiced by mainstream Muslims and Sunni Islam's most important theologians.

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