Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Somalia: 53 killed in clashes with "insurgents" including AQ biggies.

Good news for the day? It looks like another Canadian Islamist won't be down for breakfast in the morning:
At least 53 people were killed in Somalia when Islamist insurgents clashed with Ethiopian troops and Ugandan peacekeepers in separate battles, a human rights group said on Wednesday. The latest flare-up in the 18-month-old insurgency came a week before a U.N.-mediated ceasefire between an Islamist faction and the interim Somali government is to take effect.

Among the dead on Tuesday were Moalim Farhan, commander of the militant group that attacked the convoy, and Abdullahi Ali Farah, also known as Sheikh Aspro, a spokesman for the insurgents told Reuters. Aspro is deputy to hardline Islamist Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, who is on U.S. and U.N. lists of al Qaeda associates.

About Aspro we learn this from a 2006 National Post article:
A Somali-Canadian businessman is a "key player" in an emerging armed Islamic group that some describe as Africa's Taliban, sources have told the National Post. Former Toronto resident Abdullahi Ali Afrah, who goes by the nickname Aspro, holds a senior position in the consultative council of Somalia's hardline Islamic Courts Union. Mr. Ali Afrah is one of several members of the Toronto and Ottawa Somali-Canadian communities who have reportedly returned to their homeland and joined the Islamic Courts, either in leadership and support roles or as fighters in armed militias.

According to community sources, he earned his nickname by selling aspirin, "aspro" in Italian, and later ran the Canadian branch of an international money-transfer company.

Hmmm. Aspirin or khat? You make the call. From a 2002 FNC article: Last autumn, the FBI determined that the Somali asylee community in Seattle, set with food stamps and other forms of public assistance, was targeted by the Al-Barakaat Wire Transfer company, a wire transfer and hawala banking outfit with known connections to Al Qaeda. Al-Barakaat set up a storefront in Seattle and immediately went to work selling Qat, a mild narcotic popular with Somalis, and converting food stamps to money for Somalis to send back to their relatives in Somalia. The FBI believes Al-Barakaat skimmed tens of millions of dollars off of the proceeds of these two activities, and funneled it directly to Al Qaeda. The ring claimed residences on both sides of the border, and Canada, too, was taken for many tens of thousands of dollars.

Aspro: another AQ scumbag I won't be missing.