Ex-Somali premier to visit Minneapolis

  • Article by: ALLIE SHAH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 1, 2011 - 11:07 PM

The popular political figure will speak Friday at a fundraiser benefiting famine victims in Somalia.

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In this photo released by the United Nations, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, the prime minister of Somalia, left, shakes hands with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, at United Nations Headquarters in New York, Thursday, March 10, 2011.

Photo: Mark Garten, Associated Press

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The man who ignited protests around the world this summer after he was asked to step down as Somalia's prime minister is coming to Minneapolis this weekend for a highly anticipated visit with the nation's largest Somali community.

In his first trip to Minneapolis, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed will speak at a fundraising event on Friday at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Proceeds will benefit famine victims in Somalia.

Mohamed also is scheduled to speak on Saturday at a private dinner event, said Abdiwahab Yusuf, a member of the local organizing committee that helped arrange the ex-prime minister's visit.

Mohamed, who is also known by his nickname, "Farmajo," served as prime minister in Somalia's transitional federal government for less than a year, but long enough to become a popular figure throughout the Somali diaspora.

Prior to his appointment as prime minister, he lived in Buffalo, N.Y., and worked for the state's department of transportation.

Supporters credited Mohamed for securing pay for soldiers battling an insurgent group and for fighting corruption.

But he fell out of favor with the country's president in June and was asked to resign.

The move sparked protests in several cities around the world, including Minneapolis.

The pro-Farmajo movement failed to keep him in office, and he eventually resigned.

He has since returned to his old job in New York.

The fundraiser will be held at 6 p.m. Friday in Room 101 of the convention center.

Allie Shah • 612-673-4488

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