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Aden Hashi Farah Aero (Somali: Aaden Xaashi Faarax Ceyroow, Arabic: عدن هاشي فرح‎) (died 1 May 2008[1]) was the military commander of the Hizbul Shabaab, the armed wing of the Somali Islamic Courts Union (ICU). He was from the Ayr sub-clan,[2] part of the Habar Gidir, which is a branch of the Hawiye clan. He was reportedly married to Halima Abdi Issa Yusuf.[3] He was among several militants killed in a U.S. airstrike on May 1, 2008.

Aden Hashi Farah Aero
Cause of deathU.S. Airstrike
Known forMilitary commander of Hizbul Shabaab
Spouse(s)Halima Abdi Issa Yusuf


Early lifeEdit

Little is known about Aden Hashi Farah Aero, 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.[3] (See page 10)

Afghanistan and Al-QaedaEdit

Aden Hashi Farah Aero was said to have gone to Afghanistan to train with al-Qaeda before 2001, according to Matthew Bryden of International Crisis Group.[4][5] 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.[3]

According to International Crisis Group,[6] 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 "Aero", has been linked to the murder of four western aid workers and more than a dozen Somalis who allegedly cooperated with counter-terror organisations."[7] 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, Aero's actions remained clandestine.[3] (see page 8)

Islamic Courts UnionEdit

On June 15, 2006, Aden Hashi Farah Aero was said to have taken a load of arms sent from Eritrea.[8]

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.[8]

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.[9]

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. 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"[8] (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 army which caused stiff-resistance in the Baidoa region, despite ICU forces beginning to retreat from fronts elsewhere.[10]

Attempt on lifeEdit

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 Aero. Aero was believed to have been wounded in the attack and perhaps killed.[11] However, on March 7, 2007 an audio tape issued by Aden Hashi Aero was sent to the Koran Radio station in Mogadishu.[12]

Al-Qaeda in SomaliaEdit

According to intelligence provided to Somalia's Deputy Defence Minister, Salad Ali Jelle, Aden Hashi Aero was named by Al Qaeda as its leader in the wartorn nation.[13][14] It was also reported by the Associated Press that the United Nations have attributed 16 killings to him, including BBC journalist Kate Peyton. They also reported a failed attempt to bring down an Ethiopian airliner.


On May 1, 2008, Aero and another important leader of the Hizbul Shabaab, Sheikh Muhyadin Omar, were killed by a U.S. airstrike on his house in the town of Dhusamareb.[15] Paul Salopek reported in the Chicago Tribune that jihadists vowed to kill every foreigner in Somalia in response.[16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Air raid 'kills Somali militants'". BBC News. 2008-05-01. Retrieved 2008-05-01.
  2. ^ "Islamic Courts Union's victory over U.S.-backed warlords in Somalia only brings it closer scrutiny". Associated Press. 2006-06-20. Retrieved 2007-01-15.
  3. ^ a b c d "Counter-terrorism in Somalia: Losing hearts and minds?" (PDF). International Crisis Group. 2005-07-11. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-13. Retrieved 2007-06-26.
  4. ^ "Canadian among Islamists". National Post. 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-18.
  5. ^ "The hour of the Islamists". 2006-10-19. Archived from the original on 2007-12-21. Retrieved 2007-01-18.
  7. ^ Burkeman, Oliver (2006-06-10). "Fall of Mogadishu Leaves US Policy in Ruins". London: The Guardian International. Retrieved 2007-01-18.
  8. ^ a b c "Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to Security Council resolution 1676, November 2006" (PDF). Monitoring Group on Somalia, United Nations. 2006-06-10. Retrieved 2007-01-18.
  9. ^ "Islamists half-ready for holy war". The Economist. 2006-10-12. Retrieved 2007-01-18.
  10. ^ "Somalia: War bulletin for December 25, 2006". SomaliNet. 2006-12-25. Archived from the original on January 10, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-18.
  11. ^ "U.S. raid may have hit top Somali militant: Pentagon". Reuters. 2006-01-17. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
  12. ^ "AU troops under attack in Mogadishu". Al Jazeera. 2006-01-17. Archived from the original on 2007-03-09. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
  13. ^ "Al-Qaeda names cell leader". London: AP. 2006-01-17. Retrieved 2007-03-23.
  14. ^ "Somali gov't names Qaeda leader as fighting rages". Reuters. 2007-03-22. Retrieved 2007-06-26.
  15. ^ France 24 | Eight killed in air strike on Somalia Islamists: residents | France 24[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ Paul Salopek (2008-11-28). "U.S. appears to be losing its secret war in Somalia". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2008-11-30. Retrieved 2008-11-30.

External linksEdit