Ex-Somali soldier who lived in Maine arrested in stabbing death of roommate

Posted May 02, 2012, at 6:43 a.m.
Last modified May 02, 2012, at 10:45 a.m.

A former Somali militia soldier who saw years of fighting before emigrating to the United States was arrested in the fatal stabbing of his roommate late Monday, according to witnesses.

Killed was Abdrahman “Haji” Warfaa, believed to be 24 years old. He leaves a wife and three children in Ohio, his brother told Abdirizak Bihi, director of the Somali Education & Social Advocacy Center.

The victim’s roommate was taken into custody Monday night but has not yet been charged. The Star Tribune generally does not publish suspect’s names unless criminal charges have been filed. The roommate had been living in Maine before moving to Minnesota last year, Bihi said.

The men had been arguing Monday evening in the apartment after Warfaa, who had been staying at the apartment for several months, asked to stay for one more week. The roommate went to the kitchen, got a knife and then walked back to Warfaa, saying he was going to stab him, Bihi said.

Thinking his roommate’s threats were just a joke, Warfaa said words to the effect of “go ahead,” and thrust his neck out, said Bihi, who spoke to a man who was in the apartment that night. The roommate then stepped forward and sank the knife into Warfaa’s neck, the witness told Bihi.

Attempts to revive Warfaa were not successful, said Sgt. Steve McCarty.

The roommate, his clothes covered in blood, was crying when he was led away in handcuffs by police, according to Egal Mohammed, a clerk at Otanga Grocery. The grocery store is directly below the apartments and was open when authorities arrived, he said. A man who had been in the apartment at the time of the attack said several people witnessed it.

They described the suspect as a former Somali militia member who was recruited at 13 to fight the government. “He used to tell me about his life,” said Bihi, who said the man told him that he was once left for dead after a battle and was found by his mother four or five days later.

Bihi knew both of the men, having met them last September when he invited them to a concert at the Cedar Cultural Center.

“I gave those men tickets,” said Bihi, recalling how the suspect said he needed one more ticket for his friend Warfaa, who had just arrived from Ohio.

(c)2012 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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