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Accused Somali War Criminal Working Security at Dulles

Tukeh has worked as a security guard at Dulles International Airport for a few years now. He's recently been placed on administrative leave, however, because he just might've been responsible for a few thousand murders, some torture, and assorted other atrocities during his career as an army officer in Somalia.

But let's back up a bit.

Today the region is known as Somaliland, an improbably (for the region) autonomous but internationally unrecognized self-declared state. Thirty years ago it was a part of the Somali Democratic Republic under military rule. The army during that time was one of the largest in Africa, having recently been successful in operations against Ethiopian forces during the pan-Somali “Ogaden War” before Soviet assistance (including some 15,000 Cuban troops) put a stop to their advances.

There, around the town of Gebiley, where customs duties and taxes on imported khat were collected, served one Col. Yusuf Abdi Ali (a.k.a. “Tukeh”, or “Crow”). Col. Ali was commander of the somewhat grandly named Somali Army Fifth Brigade. On the list for Pentagon training as part of the Cold War era US-Somalia alliance, he was a battalion commander of the 24th Brigade before taking over 5th Bde, effectively an autocrat over his piece of Somalia's 26th Sector. Ali allegedly ordered and personally perpetrated punitive, criminal acts against members of the Isaaq Clan (the largest local tribal group). Clan-based politics, including marginalization and persecution, were nothing new to the region, but “ethnic nepotism” grew steadily throughout the eighties. In just the two years between 1988 and 1990 the Somali army murdered tens of thousands of civilians and emplaced a million landmines. Ultimately clan-based politics and cronyism ruined the Somali army as a professional organization and thus assured the eventual failure of the entire state. Somalia's government collapsed in 1991.

“Col. Tukeh personally participated in the torture and summary execution of countless innocent people. Toward the end of his reign of terror, in June 1988, Col. Tukeh used a ruse to disarm the Isaaq soldiers under his command, and he sent them under guard to Hargeisa to be executed as part of the mass executions of Isaaq people taking place there at that time.” The Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA)

Soon after that came the Somali Civil War, a famine, and the onset of the miserable conditions we still see to this day.

Ali wasn't there for all that, however. He was in the US during the 90s, and applied for asylum in Canada in 1991. His request was denied and he was deported from that country, according to the CJA, on the basis of “evidence of his extreme brutality.” In 1996 he returned to the United States on a visa through his wife, Intisar Farah, settling in Virginia. In 1998 Ali was arrested by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. According to the New York Times, the former colonel was involved in incidents that “…led to the deaths of thousands of people.” INS deportation procedures were halted, however, by a technicality, and the case thrown out by an immigration judge. Ali's wife Farah became a U.S. citizen. In 2006 she was reportedly found guilty of naturalization fraud for claiming refugee status — as a member of the Isaaq clan.

Fast forward to 2016.

The two now live in an apartment in Alexandria. They pay their rent, at least in part, with Ali's job as a security guard at Dulles. IAD serves Washington D.C., Baltimore and the surrounding area, handling millions of passengers a year. The security job is part of a contract between the firm Master Security and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority that requires, in part, a Federally mandated vetting process that according to CNN includes an FBI background check and a TSA assessment.

When contacted by CNN about the allegations and a pending civil lawsuit against Ali by the Center for Justice & Accountability on behalf of former victims, Master Security professed no knowledge of allegations or litigation. Ali was subsequently placed on administrative leave. That was a few months ago — despite a request for an update on Ali's status we have not yet been able to determine if his employment continues.

Remarkable, isn't it? Truth is stranger than fiction — though in fairness, Ali (like everyone else) is innocent until proven guilty.

“With respect to the individual’s employment at Dulles International Airport, TSA conducted standard security vetting procedures, which are focused on potential threats to national security. TSA provided the full results of its security screening to the Airport Authority who is ultimately responsible for issuing a badge for security contract work. Based on the results of the security screening, he did not meet the criteria for denial of his application.” Deputy Press Secretary Gillian Christensen, Dept. of Homeland Security

Read more on the story on CNN.

The following is an excerpt of the Canadian news piece that probably resulted in Ali's deportation from Canada.


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