Abbas Abdullahi Sheikh Siraji
|عباس عبد الله شيخ سراج |
Abbas Abdullahi Sheikh Siraji
|Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction|
4 April 2017 – 3 May 2017
|Prime Minister||Hassan Ali Khayre|
|Preceded by||Salah Sheikh Osman Mose|
15 August 1985|
3 May 2017 (aged 31)|
|Resting place||Medina Hospital, Mogadishu|
Abbas Abdullahi Sheikh Siraji (Somali: Cabaas Cabdulaahi Sheikh Siraaji; Arabic: عباس عبد الله شيخ سراج) (15 August 1985 – 3 May 2017) was a Somali politician who briefly served as the Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction until he was shot dead in Mogadishu in 2017.
Born to a prestigious religious family of the Rahanweyn clan, Abbas spent an overwhelming majority of his life living in Dadaab Refugee Camps. By the age of 5, his parents moved with him and his siblings to Liboi Refugee camps in 1991 and later relocated to Dadaab refugee camp in 1992. e ahadith (prophet's teachings) and the Fiqh.
Abbass as a bright young kid started his education with Qur'anic Dugsi (school) and completed learning the holy Qur'an before the age of 10. His father was a Sheikh and a respected scholar in the Somali community and so is his grandfather. It wasn't too long before he had a full grasp of the ahadith (prophet's teachings) and the Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence).
He started primary school by the then Jack Asiyo Primary School later renamed as Halane Primary School (1994-1998) and proceeded to Midnimo ("Unity") primary school for Upper Primary education (1999-2001). He finished high school at Ifo Secondary School (ISS) in Ifo Camp (Dadaab) in 2005. He later proceeded to Nep Technical Training College (NEP TTC)in Garissa, NE Kenya. It was at NEP technical where Abbas had his first exposure to politics and was the president of the Students Union. Historically, there has always been a tension between the Somali students and the non-Somali students at Nep Technical. It was Abass that brokered peace between the two teams. He's remembered in his former alma mater as "Abass, the president, the peace maker!"
With high hopes and dreams of changing his motherland, Abbas went back to Somalia in 2011 to take a job with the humanitarian agencies working in Somalia. He worked with the likes of FAO and later fully moved on embarking politics. In 2016 he was selected by an Electoral college for the position as MP for Kismayo (House of the People) in the current term of the Federal Parliament of Somalia, otherwise known as the Tenth Parliament..
Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction
On 21 March 2017, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire named Hon. Siraji as the next Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction. He took office on 4 April during a handover ceremony at the Ministry of Public Works, making him the youngest ever cabinet member at age 31.
In his short period as a public works minister, Abass implemented far more projects than the entire cabinet combined. This made him the most popular and one of the most loved politicians in Somalia. According to the Ministry of Public Works and Reconstruction website, Hon. Abass was in office for only one month but has done more than 30 months of tasks/work.
Agent of Peace and Hope
Hon. Abass is widely regarded as an agent of peace and hope for the Somali nation.
In his early years in college, he brokered a peace deal between different student factions (who were arch rivals) in his college. That gave him the title "Peace maker." He carried that same attitude and mentality in Federal government level. Many of his colleagues in the parliament and cabinet have attested that he brought together politicians that have not spoken to each other for decades. He was a friend to everyone and slowly instilled peace between rival politicians.
He represented hope for Dadaab Youth and the Somali community at large. He was the first person from Dadaab to hold such a high government office. Everyone looked up to him and started dreaming of the days they will all go back home.
He was young, educated, energetic with a vision of prosperous Somalia with functioning government institutions. He breached peace, unity and love. Somalia was waking up to a new dawn, a new reality, a new hope.
Community & Charity Work
Besides his public service to the nation, Hon. Abbass was doing multiple community and charity work.
He was also building the Somali nation few students at a time. Abass was paying for the tuition fees of close to a dozen Somali students both in Somalia and Kenya. This has never been disclosed prior to his death making it genuine work of nationalism. Abbass's vision was to eradicate poverty & diseases like tribalism and terrorism through education. He believed the root cause of all evil was ignorance and he was ready to fight it to his last breath.
Initial reports suggested that Siraji was shot and killed on 3 May 2017 when soldiers on a patrol opened fire as he drove his vehicle near the Villa Somalia. The circumstances of the shooting were not immediately clear. Media reports said the soldiers may have perceived Siraji's vehicle as a threat. A number of people have been reportedly arrested in connection with his death. Later reports have indicated that Siraji was traveling in his car behind a vehicle convoy bearing the Auditor General Nur Jimale Farah, when the bodyguards of the latter apparently somehow mistook Siraji's car for a VBIED being driven by a suicide bomber targeting the Auditor General and so opened fire on it. All evidence however suggest that this was a planned assissination carried out by the Auditor General Nur Jimale Farah.
The Auditor General Nur Jimale Farah, spoke with the media immediately after his security team assassinated the late minister and claimed that there was a fire exchange but all evidence (including CCTV cameras) and eye witness accounts indicate that there was no existence of such fire exchange. There were only two shots fired from Nur Jimale Farah vehicle that killed the minister (execution style).
- "Somalia's Public Works Minister shot dead in Mogadishu". BNO News. 3 May 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
- "Minister Handover ceremony – Ministry of Public Works & Reconstruction". mpwr.gov.so. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- "Somalia attack: Minister Abdullahi Sheikh Abas killed in Mogadishu". www.bbc.com. BBC. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
Somalia's security forces have shot dead a 31-year-old government minister after mistaking him for a militant Islamist, officials have said. He was killed in his vehicle near the presidential palace in the capital, Mogadishu, the officials added.
- "Fiqh". Wikipedia. 2017-05-25.
- "MIDNIMO PRIMARY SCHOOL - GARISSA". midnimo.primary.school.co.ke. Retrieved 2017-04-10.
- http://ifo.secondary.school.co.ke/%7C%7Ctitle=Ifo Secondary School
- "PM Khaire announces 27 member cabinet". www.hiiraan.com.
- "Minister Handover ceremony – Ministry of Public Works & Reconstruction". mpwr.gov.so.
- "National Condolence – Ministry of Public Works & Reconstruction". mpwr.gov.so. Retrieved 2017-06-04.
- "Somali Government Minister Killed in Mogadishu". www.voanews.com. Voice of America. 3 May 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
Abbas Abdullahi Sheikh Siraji, 31, was fatally shot near the Presidential Palace, Information Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman told VOA. Witnesses told VOA Somali that Siraji was hit by gunshots fired from a vehicle in which Auditor General Nur Jimale Farah was riding. Farah told VOA Somali that his bodyguards suspected a vehicle behind them was transporting a suicide bomber. The vehicles were about 500 meters from the Presidential Palace when the bodyguards opened fire, Farah said.
- "Somalia buries slain minister Siraji, opens probe". www.aljazeera.com. Al Jazeera. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has ordered an investigation into what he called an "unfortunate tragedy" as the country buried a minister killed by another official's guards.
- "Funeral held for Somali minister shot dead in Mogadishu (Africa highlights)". www.bbc.com. BBC. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
A state funeral has been held in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, for the 31-year-old government minister shot dead yesterday after security forces mistook him for a militant Islamist. Abas Abdullahi Sheikh, who grew up in the Dadaab refugee camp before later becoming the country's youngest ever cabinet minister, was an inspiring role model to many Somalis.