Five young men have been sentenced to death by firing squad for the gang-rape of an unnamed woman in Galkayo, one of the main cities in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland.

Their trial, in a civilian court, lasted for only a day after the accused - four of whom are aged 18 and one of whom is aged 19 - pleaded guilty to raping the woman on 22 February, the prosecutor said.

The ruling is extremely significant - rape cases in Puntland are usually settled out of court, following the intervention of traditional elders who force the perpetrator and survivor to marry.

This trial is likely to have been prompted by the outrage over the rape and killing of a 13-year-old-girl in Galkayo last week.

According to reliable sources, the girl had been strangled with a rope, her teeth broken and one of her ears cut off before her mutilated body was thrown in front of her family’s home.

The motive for the attack is still unclear.