Suits target Somali government exiles

Nov. 12, 2004 at 6:28 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Private lawsuits say two Somali residents of Northern Virginia committed human rights violations in their homeland, a published report said Friday.

The suit filed by a human rights group charges the two Somalis ordered torture, killings, rapes and other acts of brutality against a rival clan during the 1980s when they held positions of power in Somalia, The Washington Post reported.

The lawsuits say Mohamed Ali Samatar, a former defense minister and prime minister, and Yusuf Abdi Ali, a former commander of a Somali army battalion, committed the violations during the military regime of the late Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre, who was deposed in 1991.

The lawsuits were filed by the San Francisco-based Center for Justice and Accountability and a Reston, Va., law firm in federal court in Alexandria, Va., on behalf of eight Somali plaintiffs.

Both targets of the suits live in the Washington suburbs in Virginia.

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