Slain Somali Lawmaker Had Strong MN Ties

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis’ Somali-American community is asking the state department for a full investigation into the assassination of a well-known lawmaker from Minnesota.

Saado Ali Warsame was gunned down on a main street in Mogadishu Wednesday. Her driver was also killed.

Warsame is the fourth member of the government to be killed this year. Her art and politics made her a household name in Somali and to many in Minnesota.

She was a prominent figure in traditional Somali music. Her songs centered on political and social justice, and her politics fell right in line with her music, according to Somali community activist Abdirzak Bihi.

“She was trying to unite the people and also use her name to advocate against corruption, against weak government, trying to really help move Somalia forward from the civil war,” Bihi said.

He says she was one of a few women outside of Somalia elected to parliament. She came to Minneapolis during Somalia’s Civil War in the early 1990s, and returned to her homeland to serve as a lawmaker in 2012.

Her death has sent the Somali-American community in Minnesota into mourning. Warsame was a true hero to many, says Bihi.

“She doesn’t live in a castle. She lives with you, she eats with you, she is at the mall, she shops where you shop, she’s peoples’ person,” Bihi said.

He hopes her death leads to others dedicating their lives to fight for social and political justice here in Minneapolis and in Somalia.

Bihi, community activist Omar Jamal and others hope her death leads to an international effort to find those responsible for silencing the voice of a nation.

“It is a great loss and I think therefore the state department must launch an investigation of this killing of a U.S. citizen in Mogadishu city today,” Jamal said.

Warsame is the second lawmaker to be killed during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The al-Qaeda-aligned group, Al-Shabaab, has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.

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