REVEALED: How a Former Somalia State TV Official was Smuggled Into Finland
MOGADISHU (HORN OBSERVER) The former director of the Somali National Television (SNTV), Sharma’arke Mohamed Warsame has been smuggled into to Finland as the local human trafficking networks escalate their profitable business in unstable region, the Horn Observer can reveal.
Mr. Warsame was among senior Somali government officials representing the ministry of interior and the ministry of information who were invited to a peace and reconciliation debate in Helsink on February 12, 2023.
According to documents obtained by the Horn Observer and interviews with people privy to the matter, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland invited Somali officials to discuss the future of reconciliation and peace process during a debate in Helsink in which Mr. Warsame was a guest. However, the Finish authorities relied on middle men representing a local NGO to select the participants.
“Through the selection process a man called Wali Hashi who represents a Somali NGO called CAFIS and the Finnish NGO VIKES agreed to add Warsame and others into the list of the participants. They agreed a payment of USD 8,000 to be made by Mr. Warsame once he reaches Europe,” a relative to Mr. Warsame told Horn Observer.
Wali Hashi initiated the plan by contacting Said Omar Ahmed, who works for the Finnish Church Aid and whose organization was the official host together with Aidarus M Hassan of Somalia Ministry of Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation to convince them to expand the list and include Mr. Warsame into the delegation to travel to Find. It’s still obscure the role these other individuals from Finnish Church Aid and Ministry of interior might have in the smuggling scheme.
However, Mr. Warsame is now facing a new trouble as he could not make all the due payments to Mr. Hashi and that he defied Mr. Hashi’s instructions not to seek asylum in Finland.
“My cousin Mr. Warsame is now facing threats of deportation by Mr. Hashi for not paying him the dues and for defying his instructions not to seek asylum in Finland. The human smugglers usually instruct their clients to cross to a third country to conceal their operations and you will run into trouble if you so Mr. Warsame threw down the gauntlet and now he is facing serious threats,” said Muse Abdinur, the editor of the state-owned Dalka newspaper and a cousin to Mr. Warsame.
The Global Organised Crime Index reports that though Finland does not have a large-scale market for human smuggling, it is still an attractive destination country and an entry point for irregular migrants seeking to enter the European Union. Most migrants seeking the services of smugglers to enter Finland come from various countries in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus and South-eastern Asia. Most human-smuggling cases reported by the police indicate that transnational criminal groups lead operations with support from associates inside Finland.
Family members in Mogadishu told Horn Observer that the issue was brought to the clan elders in Mogadishu who are currently discussing it.
Efforts to resolve the matter is also happening in Helsink with the involvement of clan representatives from the two men, Mr. Abdinur added.
“In Several occasions members from my clan (Saleban) and Ayr clan (from Wali) tried to resolve the issue over the unpaid dues which is a total USD 4000 in Helsinki. It has been agreed that my clan members should pay the money to Mr. Hashi on behalf of Mr. Warsame so that we can save Mr. Warsame who has been feeling unwell in Finland,” Mr. Abdinur adds.
According to its registration papers seen by the Horn Observer, CAFIS is a Somali organisation registered under the Somali Federal Ministry of Information and was authorised by Abdirahman Yusuf Omar “al -Adala” who was then the acting director general of the ministry of information. However, its website states Mohamedkafi Sheikh Abukar, the new director of the state-run TV Somali National TV (SNTV) as the chairperson while the deputy minister Abdirahman Yusuf Al-adala is a board member.
Through the deputy minister Abdirahman Yusuf Al-adala, CAFIS has been affiliated to the state-owned television Somali National TV (SNTV). Both organisations have been receiving the support of VIKES, the only Finnish development cooperation organisation specialised in freedom of expression and media.
According to a statement on its website, VIKES has been operating in Somalia since 2014, and Wali Hashi has also been involved in the operation since the beginning as a trainer and expert, but on a fee basis. As a result of VIKES’ development cooperation program, Mr. Hashi was hired by VIKES.
Somalia’s trafficking business remains profitable with smugglers earning hundreds of thousands of U.S dollars by either sending their victims to African Sahara of Sudan and Libya or through schemes of sponsored visas through international organisations and — sometimes through government sponsored visas.
The Horn Observer is seeking responses from the Somali Interior Ministry, the Ministry of Information as well as CAFIS representatives regarding Mr. Warsame’s case.
Source : Horn Observer