Somalia al-Shabaab
Five wives of members of terror group al-Shabab were killed in a revenge attack Reuters

At least five wives of members of terror group al-Shabaab have been killed in Somalia in a revenge attack, following an incident where militants kidnapped and beheaded two women - one a soldier and the other a cook working for the military - earlier this week

In revenge, a widowed soldier and his colleagues rounded up women connected to al-Shabaab fighters.

Who are al-Shabaab militants?

Al-Shabaab, which means "The Youth", is a Somali terror group affiliated to al-Qaida.

An off-shoot of the Islamic Courts Union - a rival administration to the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia - al-Shabaab aims to overthrow the Somali government and impose its own version of Islam in the country.

Al-Shabaab controlled Mogadishu and the southern region of Somalia from 2006 until 2011, when it was defeated by African Union peacekeepers.

The group often carries out attacks in Kenya, in retaliation to the deployment of Kenyan troops in Somalia to counterattack the militants in 2011.

Elders in the south-western district of Tiyeglow told AFP that the attack targeted "women close to Islamists".

"For the death of the two women, they arrested 10 women whom they said were wives of al-Shabaab militants, killing five before the elders rescued and freed the rest," said Aliyow Isack, an elder.

Al-Shabaab often carries out attacks in the area, around 175 km from the capital Mogadishu. The double beheading prompted locals to retaliate, but there were claims that doing so amounted to rough justice.

"Can you imagine what happened? It was a completely barbaric act against humans," said Mohamed Malim, another elder.

"They were innocent women, some of those killed might have been married by force to the gunmen."

Al-Shabaab training
Al-Shabaab members in a training camp in Somalia Youtube screenshot

Recently, al-Shabaab was suspected of being behind an attack at the Mogadishu airport that left at least seven people dead, as a suicide bomber rammed his car into a UN convoy.

The suicide attack was carried out a few days after the militants massacred 36 Christians in northern Kenya and vowed that more attacks "against the occupation of Somali lands" would follow.

Al-Shabaab also claimed responsability for a bus attack in Kenya that targeted non-Muslims in November.

In 2013, at least 67 people were killed during an al-Shabaab's four-day-long siege at Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

In July, the militants killed civilians and government soldiers in an attack aimed at Somalia's President Hasan Sheik Mohamud.