Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Horn of Africa now a key target for US ‘war on terror’
BEIRUT, 6 MAY 2003--BEIRUT: Not too long ago a man named Issa al-Hayatt carrying a South African passport was lying in the Kaysaney Hospital in downtown Mogadishu, the lawless capital of Somalia, a constant battleground between clan-based warlords. Around about March 11 or 12, he’d been shot in what appeared to be an attempt by militiamen to kidnap him. On March 18, six armed men, identified as Americans by witnesses, swept into the ward with several local militiamen, including a translator, and dragged away the man known as Issa.
They drove him out to Aisaley Airport near Mogadishu, put him aboard an aircraft which had flown in the Americans the day before, and took off for Nairobi, capital of neighboring Kenya, where he was placed under arrest by the country’s anti-terrorist police unit.
A few days ago, the man known as Issa was formally handed over to US authorities as a suspected member of al-Qaeda. Kenya’s National Security Minister, Chris Murungaru, named the man as Suleiman Abdalla Salim Hemed, believed to be a Yemeni but who also held Somali and Tanzanian passports. The minister said he was believed to be a high-ranking Al-Qaeda operative who was linked to the Nov. 28 suicide bombing of the Paradise Hotel in the Indian Ocean resort of Mombasa, in which 11 Kenyans and three Israelis perished, and the August 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es Salaam which killed 231 people, 12 of them American. THE DAILY STAR.

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