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Former Somali PM dies of COVID-19 in Ethiopia at the age of 79

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

JIGJIGA, Ethiopia - Former Somalia's Minister Ali Khalif Galaydh has died in Jigjiga city, the capital of the Somali regional state in Ethiopia due to COVID-19 on Thursday, according to the local minister. 

Speaking to the media, Mukhtar Yusuf who is the deputy information minister of the Somali region said they have found that Galaydh died of COVID-19 after conducting a post-mortem is to determine the cause of his death.

He has served as the PM during the first transitional government of Somalia which was formed in 2000, a post he held for just two years. The Transitional Government was formed almost a decade after the ouster of military ruler Siad Barre.

He becomes the third person who ever held such a post to die this year. Early this year, former PM Nur Adde died in London after contracting the novel Coronavirus. Later in July this year, another former PM Hassan Abshir died in Turkey where he had stayed for a couple of years.

The announcement came after the Somali region President Mustafe Mohamed Omar has set up a committee that will now investigate the death of the former Prime Minister. The government of Somalia condoled over Galaydh's demise.

President Farmajo and PM Mohamed Hussein Roble have expressed their condolences to ex-PM's family and friends and announced a national committee to work on a state funeral for the late official whose body is set to be flown to Mogadishu in the coming days.

Ali Khalif becomes the second former Somali PM to die from the deadly coronavirus pandemic after the late Nur Hassan Hussein “Nur Adde” who passed away in London in April 2020. NUr Adde was prime minister of the Horn of African Nation from November 2007 to February 2009.

While paying tribute to the former PM, the Ogaden National Liberation Front [ONLF] party termed him a "prominent educator and political figure who helped the Somali nation throughout the difficult time". The party wished his family peace throughout the mourning period.

Born in the 1940s at Las Anod, Somalia, Ali Khalif initially came to the United States in 1962 to pursue his bachelor’s degree. He studied a bachelor’s degree from Boston University, a master’s degree from Syracuse University, and a doctorate from Syracuse University according to his biography.

As a scholar, he was recognized academic and public official, having held positions both in Somalia and the United States. In Somalia, Ali served as director-general for the Somali Institute of Public Administration or SIPA [1970-1976], director-general of Jowhar Sugar Enterprise [1974-1976], executive chairman of the Juba Sugar Project [1976-1980], and Minister of Industry [1980-1982].

In 1982, he accepted a fellowship at the Center for International Affairs and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University [1982-1986]. He was also a professor at Syracuse University [1989-1996]and the founder of the SOMTEL telecom company

From 2000 to 2001, Ali served as prime minister of Somalia following the Somalia National Peace Conference in Djibouti. Soon after, he joined his wife and children in Minnesota, where he taught at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.


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