Five in Somali Military Court Over Alleged Plot to Use Fertiliser Explosives

produced audio and video communication and financial transactions as part of the evidence gathered to prove a case against the five. (Screenshot- Somali military radio)

Five Somali businessmen have been charged in a Somali military court in Mogadishu of illegally importing fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals allegedly intended to be used to make explosives, Prosecutors said Monday.

The five men Mohamed Abdi Sheikh, Abdisalan Osman Mohamed, Qadar Abdisalan Mohamed, Abdisalan Ali Farah, and Dahir Osman Mohamed were accused of purchasing large quantities of agricultural chemicals intended for use in the manufacture of explosives.

The Nitrogen Phosphorus and Potassium fertilizers, hydrochloric acid, glycerin, ethanol and suicide vests were allegedly procured for use on behalf of militant group Al Shabaab, the Prosecutor said.

During a court session, the prosecution team produced audio and video communication and financial transactions as part of the evidence gathered to prove a case against the five.

The judges were shown videos of man with white substance wrapped in black plastic paper at his disposal depicting one of the suspects in the case.

In the video, the security agencies believe Mohamed Abdi Sheik was giving the purchaser a practical lesson on the use of the chemical.

The footage begins with Sheikh admitting to having received the chemicals without providing much detail.

He goes to ignite a few tissue papers in a bowl by adding small amounts of the chemical. With each added small quantity, it produces a flame and spreads into the bowl.

“This is how it should work, it’s similar to the previous one you received before. I will wait for your feedback,” Sheikh noted.

Somalia’s security agencies also produced a report about a financial deal between Dahir Osman Mohamed and Mohamed Osman Mohamed also known as Tutale.

According to the Bank records, Tutale sent US$32,000 between May and July 2020 to Dahir Osman Mohamed to buy farm fertilizer, other chemicals, computers, cameras, and printers. Dahir was arrested in August 2020 in Mogadishu.

Another suspect Abdisalan Ali Farah, was arrested at the Mogadishu airport armed with documents showing the purchase of a large amount of chemicals and images of the said chemicals.

Farah’s lawyer told the court the client was innocent and the document was for research by the client who is a student.

Another lawyer argued the evidence produced in court does not prove the men were Al Shabaab members and the purchase was to be used to make explosives to kill people.

One Somali businessman told the court they are victimized for other people’s crimes.

“We have brought the sugar for the people who want the sugar. We bring acids used for batteries. It’s a business. Whoever wants to use these for something else, we are not to blame and we won’t take responsibility for that,” the businessman said.