Aden Hashi Farah

Aden Hashi Farah "Eyrow" (Aaden Xaashi Faarax Ceyroow - 1 May, 2008) was a leader of the Hizbul Shabaab, the armed wing of the Somali Islamic Courts Union (ICU). He was from the Ayr sub-clan, part of the Habar Gidir, which is a branch of the Hawiye clan. He was reportedly married to Halima Abdi Issa Yusuf. He was among several militants killed in a U.S. airstrike on May 1, 2008.

Early life

Little is known about Aden Hashi Farah Ayro, though from his clan, it was known that he received little formal education of any kind before joining the Ifka Halane Islamic court in the mid-1990s under the tutelage of Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys. According to sources from the International Crisis Group, Aweys selected him to go to Afghanistan for further training. (See page 10)

Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda

Aden Hashi Farah Ayro was said to have gone to Afghanistan to train with al-Qaeda before 2001, according to Matthew Bryden of International Crisis Group. Here he was supposedly trained in explosives and other insurgent tactics, applying them in the Islamic Courts Union militias later on; notably with the Shiirkoole (Circolo) court of Mogadishu. (See page 10)

According to International Crisis Group, it was after this stint with the terror organisation that he went back to Somalia in 2003 to set up a network with other al-Itihaad al-Islamiya veterans to assassinate foreigners and opponents, culminating in the eventual deaths of four foreign aid workers and at least ten Somali former military and police officers. On June 10, 2006, The Guardian repeated this story by stating, "An unnamed network run by one of Aweys's proteges, Aden Hashi Farah "Ayro", has been linked to the murder of four western aid workers and more than a dozen Somalis who allegedly cooperated with counter-terror organisations." They also desecrated an Italian cemetery in Mogadishu to great international outrage, and helped shelter and provide assistance to Al-Qaeda operatives in Banaadir and the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia. During this period, Ayro's actions remained clandestine. (see page 8)

Islamic Courts Union

On June 15, 2006, Aden Hashi Farah "Eyrow" was said to have taken a load of arms sent from Eritrea (see page 12).

In July, 720 Somali volunteers were selected by Aden Hashi Farah "Eyrow" to travel to Lebanon to fight against the Israelis. Of those, only 80 returned to Mogadishu. In September, another 20 returned, along with five members of Hizbollah. (see page 24).

He was placed in charge of the Shabaab by Hassan Dahir Aweys, but an October 2006 article in The Economist indicated Aweys may have had some regrets regarding the appointment.

The bankruptcy of a remittance company, Dalsan, International, whose staff included the brother of Aden Hashi Farah "Eyrow", involved the suspicious disappearance of $10 million dollars. It was alleged, "an ICU military leader managed to divert a large amount of money to help financially support the organization in their fight for the control of Mogadishu during the June 2006 confrontation with the former counter terrorism alliance" (see page 39). (Also see ARPCT, Second Battle of Mogadishu)

During Ethiopia's invasion of Somalia to oust the Islamic Courts Union militia from power, sources claimed by SomaliNet news that Aden led an elite-commando arm which caused stiff-resistance in the Baidoa region, despite ICU forces beginning to retreat from fronts elsewhere.

Attempt on life

Theresa Whelan, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for African affairs, in a press conference on January 17, 2007, said she believed the U.S. AC-130 gunship raid which occurred on January 8 had killed eight fighters linked to Aden Hashi Farah Ayro. Ayro was believed to have been wounded in the attack and perhaps killed.

However, on March 7, 2007, it was found that Aden Hashi Ayro, who has described himself as a commander of the Islamic Courts movement, said in an audio tape sent to Mogadishu-based Koran Radio: "It is time for the Somali youth to fight the occupation by Ethiopia and others." He further said, "We will fight for the name of God and our country. Let us bring together all our forces to fight the enemy of Somalia.".

Al-Qaeda in Somalia

According to intelligence provided to Somalia's Deputy Defence Minister, Salad Ali Jelle, Aden Hashi Ayro was named by Al Qaeda as its leader in the wartorn nation. It was also reported by the Associated Press that the United Nations have attributed 16 killings to him, including BBC journalist Kate Peyton and a failed attempt to bring down an Ethiopian airliner.


On May 1 2008, Ayro and another important leader of the Hizbul Shabaab, Sheikh Muhyadin Omar, were killed when the U.S. conducted an airstrike on his house in the town of Dhuusamarreeb.

See also


External links

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