College Teacher Convicted for Leading Al-Shabab Operations in Mogadishu

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Al-Shabab

Somalilandsun-A college teacher who is the son of a senior police officer has been found guilty of leading Al-Shabaab’s operations in Mogadishu for several years. A military court in Mogadishu sentenced Mohamed Haji Ahmed to death on Tuesday.  Prosecutors wanted to file charges connecting Ahmed to the death of more than 180 people.  But in the end, he was convicted for being behind the assassination of three generals, a police corporal and a deputy attorney general. In a video recorded and released by the court, Ahmed confessed to working as head of operations for Al-Shabaab in Mogadishu. “I was head of operation of the city, the region,” he said in the video. “There was nothing more nerve-wracking than sending out someone to do something…what will happen to them? Have they been killed?” He said after an operation, Al-Shabaab bosses would call him to learn details about how it went, who fired the shots, and how many bullets were fired. He would also send information to Al-Shabaab’s radio station, Radio Andalus, so the group could claim responsibility for attacks and use it as propaganda. The court sentenced six other Al-Shabaab members to death, four of them in absentia.  An eighth Shabaab member was given life imprisonment. A woman who worked at the Somali Women’s Headquarters was also convicted for passing information about the movement of government officials to Al-Shabaab. Fadumo Hussein Ali, also known as “Fadumo Colonel,” was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The hunt
Ahmed, 27, from Bulomarer town in the Lower Shabelle region, has used multiple aliases over the years to evade authorities. Somali security forces said they have been hearing his name since 2014, when al-Shabaab suspects arrested for carrying pistols in Mogadishu’s Hamarweyne district said a man they identified as “Hudeyfi” gave them the guns to carry out assassinations. The following year, more detained al-Shabaab suspects mentioned the same name. In January 2016, authorities arrested a man whose phone they had tracked because of contacts with known al-Shabaab figures. He told the court he was a college teacher, which was verified, and he was released on bail.  At the time, the officials did not realize that the man they arrested, Ahmed, was indeed Hudeyfi. Over the following years, Ahmed used several other aliases. On November 2, 2016, a traditional elder was killed in Mogadishu. Two men arrested by the police in connection with the killing named their supervisor as “Dahir.”   On December 2018, twin blasts near the National Theater in Mogadishu killed at least ten people including prominent television journalist Awil Dahir Salad. The two men captured in connection with the bombing named “Ilkacase” as a co-conspirator…….

By: Harun Maruuf  VOA

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