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Military court sentenced soldier to death for shooting minibus driver at illegal checkpoint

Sunday December 4, 2022

Abdirahman Addow Ise Mohamed was convicted by a military court of murder and sentenced to death.


Mogadishu (HOL) - A military court sentenced a Somali soldier to death by firing squad on Sunday for murdering a minibus driver at an illegal checkpoint in Middle Shabelle late last month.

The military tribunal found that it had "strong evidence" to unanimously convict Abdirahman Addow Ise Mohamed of shooting and killing Salah Abdulle Ahmed, including testimony from witnesses, many of whom were catalysts in the rogue soldier's arrest.

Security forces arrested Mohamed last Tuesday at the urging of witnesses and other drivers.

The court heard that Mohamed and other officers established an illegal checkpoint near Balcad town on November 29 where they encountered Ahmed as his minibus - ferrying over a half dozen passengers  - travelled from Somalia's capital to Jowhar.

Mohamed demanded 100,000 Somali shilling extortion from Ahmed, who said he could only come up with 90,000. After a "very brief" argument, Mohamed raised his automatic rifle at the driver and shot him several times point blank range in front of the passengers and other soldiers. He then took the minibus driver's money and dumped the body on the side of the road, where it was left for hours before being removed by locals for a proper Islamic burial.

Following the shooting, locals converged on the illegal checkpoint, locally known as "isbaaro,"  and demanded authorities arrest the officer. Since the fall of the central government in 1991, Somalia has long struggled with illegal checkpoints established by soldiers, quasi-legitimate security services and rogue gunmen. In the past, soldiers have pointed to their lack of wages as justification for shaking down civilians.

The CID, which took over the investigation, and quickly charged Mohamed with murder. It is unclear if he was also charged with establishing an illegal checkpoint.

On Saturday, Hiiraan Governor Ali Jeyte Osman warned Somali security services against setting up illegal checkpoints in newly liberated regions.

Somalia's President has vowed to prosecute soldiers extorting civilians at illegal checkpoints, particularly in Middle Shabelle, where Al Shabaab militants have long controlled the lucrative corridor leading from the Shabelle riverine area to Somalia's capital.

The sentence was heard by witnesses to the murder, along with both Mohamed and Ahmed's relatives.

The military court gave the convicted soldier one month to appeal before executing the sentence.


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