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Somalia: ISIS convict dies at prison in Mogadishu

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - A convicted ISIS militant has died on Wednesday night in a Mogadishu prison where he was serving a 15-year jail term, Garowe Online reports.

Mahad Mohamud Abdi alias [Abu Yasin] passed away after a sudden illness in prison, multiple sources have confirmed, without giving further details about the cause of the inmate's death.

His demise could yet again throw the Federal Government of Somalia into limbo, following increasing cases of mysterious deaths and escapes in Mogadishu's central prison with maximum security.

Close ties with Al-Baghdadi, the slain ISIS leader

In August 2018, a military court in Mogadishu convicted Abu Yasin and Mohamed Warsame over terrorism-related charges.

At that time, the two were close to slain ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who has since been killed by US forces in Iraq, reports indicated.

Yasin, the military court said, administered Bay'ah, an Islamic practice declaring oath of allegiance to a particular leader.

After declaring allegiance to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, he set up ISIS splinter faction in Somalia, which has killed dozens of people.

State prosecutors at that time pushed for the death sentence against Yasin, but the military court only condemned him to 15 years in jail, local media said.

Dual citizenship and Russian passport

Abu Yasin is a dual citizen and holds a Russian passport, Somalia confirmed. He had fled to Russia before returning home.

Thousands of Somalis hold dual citizenship, with most of them being products of political asylum and refugees across the world.

Since 1992, Somalia has never had a stable government. The current administration is backed by over 22,000 UN troops.

For months now, the international community has been pushing to have the first winner-takes-all polls in December this year, which would pave the way to the democratically elected regime.

Renouncing ISIS before conviction

Mohamed Warsame, Yasin's co-accused, was accused of being the doctor of the ISIS group within Somalia, state media said.

Also, he was accused of covertly moving the group’s finances. He was in contact with IS leaders in Syria, although their lawyers claimed that they had renounced the group.

President Mohamed Farmajo recently said "I will not rest until all terrorists are defeated in Somalia. This is a global phenomenon".

Somalia's military court has proved to be effective, managing several convictions within the last decade, a record that is yet to be achieved by civilian courts.

ISIS neutralized in Northeastern Somalia

Ever since emerging in Somalia, the Middle East-linked terror group has struggled to make any serious impact due to Al-Shabaab dominance.

Besides controlling sections of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland especially along Bosaso, the group is largely extinct.

Al-Shabaab militants, who are keen to topple the fragile federal government, have often clashed with ISIS in Somalia, Reuters reports.

The convictions of the two was a major blow to the group, which has since disintegrated into numerous controllable factions.

Federal Government of Somalia is yet to issue a statement with regard to Yasin's unprecedented death, only two years after being jailed.