Musa Sudi Yalahow

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Muse Sudi Yalahow (Somali: Muuse Suudi Yalaxoow; Arabic: موسى سودي يالاهو) is a notorious Somali warlord who served as Trade Minister in the Transitional Government of Ali Mohammed Ghedi. He was dismissed in June 2006 after ignoring government requests to halt fighting with the Islamic Courts Union militia.

Somali Civil War

United Somali Congress/Somali Salvation Alliance (USC/SSA)

Yalahow is a relative of Ali Mahdi Muhammad, the interim president of Somalia after the outbreak of the civil war in 1991 and faction leader in northern Mogadishu. As the deputy Chairman of United Somali Congress/Somali Salvation Alliance (USC/SSA) of Ali Mahdi Muhammad, Yalhow headed the administration in the Medina district of southern Mogadishu when the civil war broke out in the early 90s. Yalahow draws support from the Abgal, one of the largest Hawiye clans. Ethiopia initially showed interest in him because of his opposition to Hussein Aideed, and supported the leader in his opposition against the new interim government. Local and international media reports documented the arrival of weapons trucked into Mogadishu from Ethiopia for Yalahow. There were many reports of the faction leader visiting the Ethiopian Somali region - particularly Gode, the capital of the Ogaden area - to receive weapons and meet Ethiopian military and government representatives.

In August 1998, Ali Mahdi Muhammad and South Mogadishu warlords Hussein Aideed and Mohamed Afrah Qanyare set up a joint administration for Mogadishu, which was rejected by Yalahow, Osman Ali Atto and Hussein Haji Bod. Fighting erupted in early March between loyalists of Yalahow and militiamen funded by the business community in northern Mogadishu after Yalahow tried to impose taxes at the Karan market in northern Mogadishu. The fighting claimed 22 lives and subsided March 15 after Abgal elders arranged a cease-fire and resumption of negotiations.

However, fighting flared up again on March 17 and 18, 1999 bringing the total number of casualties to 38 people and 88 injured since the fighting began. The dispute disrupted public transport and telephone lines were cut. Yalahow rejected a plan by elders to end the latest round of fighting and refused to withdraw the tax demand. In addition, another round of clashes was reported between clan militias of Yalahow and those of the Mogadishu governor Hussein Ali Ahmed. The fighting which began later, in mid-March was more political in nature and not a continuation of the fighting sparked by a dispute over taxation rights. This dispute reportedly ended with Yalahow's takeover of equipment belonging to a north Mogadishu radio station which supported Ali Mahdi Muhammad, his former ally.[1] Yalahow, whose militia were now well armed, declared he would never recognise a joint administration established by his rivals. He later changed his mind when offered the post of third deputy chairman of the proposed authority.[2][3]

In March 2001 his militia kidnapped nine aid workers from Médecins Sans Frontières who were vaccinating children against polio.[4]

Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC)

In December 2001 his forces lost control over the Jazira airstrip. He had split from his "right-hand man and deputy," Mahmud Muhammad Finish, who was also of the Da'ud subclan of the Abgal clan. Yalahow became a senior leader of the Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC), while Finish was loyal to the Transitional National Government (TNG) movement. The two battled over the control of the airstrip, as well as over control of sections of Mogadishu. On February 26, 2002, fighting broke out between the two warlords again, killing at least twelve people. Yalahow lost a technical and an unarmed pickup to Finish in the fighting.[5]

In late May heavy fighting in Mogadishu left 60 people dead and over 100 wounded, most reportedly non-combatants, as militias of Muhammad Habib and Yalahow, both members of SRRC, attacked the house of Dahir Shaykh Dayah, the Interior Minister of TNG. The fighting had reportedly displaced thousands of families, particularly in north Mogadishu.

Clashes between rivals again flared up in Mogadishu in July, ahead of the proposed peace talks in Nairobi, leaving 30 people dead and 50 wounded. Most of the victims were civilians caught in the crossfire or killed when artillery shells struck residential houses. The dead included many children.

Renewed fighting was reported in Middle Shabelle, with 20 fatalities in related inter-clan clashes, and again resumed in early September, leaving 15 people dead and over 30 wounded in two days of fighting in north Mogadishu. Each of the two warlords then claimed to be the head of the USC/SSA and the leadership feud became the cause of further fighting in 2003.[6]

Transitional Federal Government (TFG)

When the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was organized in 2004, Musa Sudi Yalahow was one of the 275 selected members of the Transitional Federal Parliament enumerated in the official list of August 29, 2004. His term expires in 2009.[7]

On March 20, 2005, it was reported Yalahow was arrested in Kenya, along with other TFG members of parliament for brawling over an argument which stemmed from the debate over whether to allow peacekeepers from Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya to help restore the TFG to power.[8]

Yalahow's militia is based in Mogadishu and he partly controls the lucrative Daynile Airport, which is northeast of Mogadishu. The airport is a source of income as international aid agencies use it as well as people who are importing or smuggling goods into the capital. In October 2005, the Somali Transitional Federal Government ordered that Daynile be closed. Yalahow, though a Minister in the government, warned that he would shoot down any plane which followed the government's orders not to land there.[9]

Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT)

In February 2006 Yahalow joined the United States-backed warlord coalition, the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT) in order to fight the Islamic Court Union. Fighting between the ICU and ARPCT claimed more than 350 lives and Yalahow's militia occupied the International Red Cross and Red Crescent (ICRC)-run Kensaney hospital. The ICRC issued a statement that the hospital was taken by Yalahow's fighters, despite repeated calls by the ICRC) and the Somali Red Crescent Society for medical facilities to be spared, that the hospital was clearly marked with the red crescent emblem and that the military operation impeded the access of new casualties to the hospital. Keysaney hospital was the only medical facility in Mogadishu North offering surgical services for the war-wounded at the time. The Somali Justice Advocacy Center called on the United Nations (U.N.) to bring Yalahow to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for violation of the 48 and 51(5) (b) of additional protocol of deliberate prevention of wounded civilians from receiving medical assistance, the indiscriminate shelling of civilian populations and the complete take over of Keysani Hospital.[10] Somalia is not a party to the court, and therefore would have to consent or be referred by the UN Security Council in order for the court to have jurisdiction. In June 2006 the regional body IGAD threatened to do this to warlords it termed "spoilers". (See also: Cases before the International Criminal Court)

On June 5 Yalahow withdrew from Mogadishu to the warlord stronghold of Balad, a town 30 km north of Mogadishu, which was also taken by the ICU days later.

The Somali Prime Minister, Ali Mohammed Ghedi removed Yalahow from office, saying Yalahow had opposed his government and peace initiatives and undermined their reconciliation activities. He said Yalahow's actions fueled violence and unrest and his militia had killed innocent civilians.[11]

Return to Mogadishu

On January 6, 2007 Yalahow returned to Mogadishu from exile.[12]

On January 12, 2007, the same day as the Battle of Ras Kamboni ended marking the last major campaign to defeat the ICU, Somali warlords tentatively agreed with President Abdullahi Yusuf to disarm their militias and to direct their members to apply to join the national army or police forces. An estimated 20,000 militia were said to exist throughout Somalia. Mohamed Qanyare Afrah said the clans were "fed up" with militias and agreed to disarm his own men. Muse Sudi Yalahow was less conciliatory and made veiled threats that if dissatisfied, people might oppose the government.[13]

On January 17, 2007, Mohamed Qanyare Afrah and Muse Sudi Yalahow were the first warlords of Mogadishu to disarm, turning over their weapons and committing their militiamen to the government, though some of Sudi's arms remained in other locations controlled by Qanyare and Mohammed Dhere. The arms were accepted by the chief commander of the government army, General Naji.[14]

See also


  1. ^ AFP, April 3, 1998
  2. ^ The Monitor, July 18–19, 1998
  3. ^ AFP, July 12 & 19, 1998
  4. ^ "Somali gunmen attack aid workers". BBC. 2001-03-27. Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  5. ^ "SOMALIA: At least 12 killed in Mogadishu fighting". IRIN. 2002-02-26. Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  6. ^ 24 July 2002, AFP
  7. ^ "Selected Members of the Transitional Federal Parliament of Somalia (275) 29.08.2004 - 2009" (PDF). 2004-08-29. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 13, 2015. Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  8. ^ "Kenyan Police Arrest Somali Warlord, MPs for Brawling". AFP. 2005-03-20. Retrieved 2006-01-06. 
  9. ^ "Somali warlord threatens planes". BBC. 2005-10-28. Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  10. ^ "Somalia; International Criminal Court Asked to Charge Somali Warlord Against War Crimes" (PDF). Shabelle Media Networks. 2006-06-01. Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  11. ^ "Somalia PM sacks US-backed warlords". Middle East Online. 2006-06-05. Archived from the original on 2006-10-19. Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  12. ^[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Somali warlords agree to disarm as government troops capture last Islamic holdout in south". Associated Press. 2007-01-12. Retrieved 2007-01-12. 
  14. ^ "Somalia: Warlords lay down weapons". SomaliNet. 2007-01-17. Archived from the original on 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2007-01-17. 
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