Bounty Hunting: A booming business in Mogadishu 
WardheerNews Editorial

December 12, 2005


 
On December 3, 2005, WardheerNews has reported that a local Somali religious leader, Sheikh Mohamed Duale Moley, was abducted and transferred to Djibouti by an armed militia. Along with an Oromo Sheikh from Ethiopia, the armed abductors were alleged that they would hand over the victims to the government of Djibouti, who will, in time, pass them over to U.S. army commanders in the region.   
 
Mohamed Qanyare
Bashiir Raage
A militia loyal to Warlord Mohamed Qanyare and his son, who is a prominent figure in the business of abduction, has kidnapped Mr. Moley and the Oromo Sheikh from their homes. The abducted victims were sent to Djibouti via the Dayniile Airstrip. On December 5, 2005, another young Muslim Sheikh, Mr. Deeq Yuusuf Mohamed, was kidnapped by Bashir Raage, a warlord with dubious business dealings in Mogadsihu. Mr. Abdulkadir Mohamed Hussein, a brother of Mr. Deeq Yuusuf Mohamed, voiced the innocence of his brother to reporters in Mogadishu. He is worried that Mr. Raage’s Militia would hand his brother over to the Americans. 
 
The trade on alleged Islamist and religious individuals has been a big business in Somalia and in Mogadishu in particular for some time now.  This is a lucrative business that very much feeds into the current orientation of the United States government's foreign policy, which is centered  on a worldwide hunt for alleged Islamists and terrorists. 
 
Mogadishu Bounty Hunters
Abduction and apprehension of alleged terrorists in Somalia has started in 2002, when the United States government stepped up its worldwide hunt for Al Qa’ida terrorists.  Somalia and Mogadishu, in particular, has been suspected by the Americans to be a stateless place that could be a heaven for terrorists.  (For an authoritative historical study on the origins of radical Islam in Somalia, please see , WardheerNews, Duale Sii’Arag). But at the same time, it presents an unenviable advantage for Americans to deal only with warlords who often operate outside any known norm of international law. 
 
With its menacing and ominous neighborhoods and the ever-growing number of freelancing warlords, hunting for alleged terrorists has become a lucrative business in Mogadishu. The pay off that comes from handing these victims over to American military commanders could easily empower these warlords to continue the present status quo and tip the balance of power in Mogadishu or elsewhere in the country.   
 
Between the year 2002 and this past week of December 3, 2005, approximately 15 individuals have been abducted from the religious communities in Mogadishu alone. Entirely all the abducted victims were handed over to either Djibouti, American commanders in the region or Ethiopia.  In fact the number of transferred abducted victims could go up to more than hundred if one accounts for all the alleged terrorists that the administration of Somaliland had handed over to Ethiopia and the others abducted from elsewhere in the country. There are a lot of speculations that this bounty is given to the American commanders in the region or their client states in exchange for American cash and cache.
 
Abducting or hunting for bounty of alleged terrorists in Mogadishu has lately intensified with the introduction of short and tactical guns with silencers, which are now conveniently carried widely by those who trade on this business.  In the case of Somaliland, however, it is the Hargaysa administration that abducts suspected individuals and hands them over to either Ethiopia or to American commanders.  
 
The best-known individuals who hunt on this new bounty in the confines of Mogadishu in particular are Bashir Raage, a notorious warlord in Mogadishu who had reportedly conducted a recent secret meeting with members of the FBI and Abdiweli Mohamed Qanyare, son of Mohamed Qanyare, another infamous warlord and a recalcitrant minister for security in the newly formed Transitional Federal Government of Somalia.  
 
Most of the abducted individuals are innocent local sheikhs with no known links to the Al Qa'ida Terrorist group. 

In 2004, Mohamed Dheere of Jawhar has kidnapped a patient of Yemeni origin from Kaysanay hospital. He later on handed the victim over to the Americans.  When investigated, the Americans have discovered that the Yemeni-born abducted victim was innocent and released him. 

Ethiopia has also released several innocent people whom the Somaliland administration had handed over as terrorists. The individuals who are abducted generally are those who lack enough clan protection or those who are not indigenous of the localities they are kidnapped from.  For example, the latest abductee, Mr. Duale, hails from the Ogaden clan and does not command any influence in Mogadishu. Mr. Abdiweli Qanyare, whose militia has abducted Mr. Duale, knows well that his actions would not result in any retaliation, at least inside Mogadishu given the abductor's political and clan base inside his city. 
Indha Cadde & Hassan Daahir Aweys

A real contribution to the war against international terrorism would have been apprehending Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aways, Sheikh Abdulkadir M. Jama, Sheikh Yusuf Mohamed Siyad alias sheikh Indha Cadde, Adan Hashi Ayrow and all the known big fishes who openly preach terrorist sentiments inside Mogadishu. 
 
Somali warlords have been slow in resolving their conflict that has plagued their country for the last 15 years.  At the same time, they have shown resourcefulness in exploiting international politics to their advantage. The current craze of hunting alleged terrorists as bounty in  Mogadishu coincided with a period when the Bush administration is being widely exposed for its illegal treatment of alleged terrorist prisoners or its abductions of innocent foreign nationals suspected of terrorism. In Mogadishu’s bounty hunt for American cash and cache, the casualty is the victims’ human rights. 
 
Somalia is a country without a central government and this makes it easy for the Bush administration and its military commanders to directly deal with local bounty hunters to abduct and hand alleged terrorists without the political pitfalls that such actions often attract in other  countries. The recent European tour of Ms.Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State, has been marred by dubious deeds that her government committed - all the illegal actions against prisoners who are alleged of terrorism activities. The Abductions in Mogadishu, or other abduction in Somalia, if done in the interest of the United States, are illegal too and constitute an abrogation of U.S. policy. 
 
Given the history of Somalia's warlords, the American government or its client states (Djibouti, Ethiopia or any other country in the IGAD region) must stop dealing with these abductors who are trading on innocent and local religious leaders in exchange for American money.   
 
If the United State is serious about dealing with terrorism in the Horn of Africa region, the best  way is not to work through unaccountable warlords with terrible human rights record, but to help re-establish Somalia's central government.  The United States under Secretary for African Affairs, Ambassador Jandaya Frazer, had said, at a recent town hall meeting in Minneapolis, that both President Bush and Secretary Rice are committed to helping Somalia tackle its crisis. 

In light of this official statement from the Number two diplomat of the Untied States of America for Africa, the U.S. government must call for an immediate halt to the current rush to bounty hunting of human heads in the name of terrorism in Somalia.  The Bush administration must also start constructively engaging with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and the AU to bring the Somalia crisis to a final conclusion. 


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