Ex-Somali soldier is arrested in stabbing death of roommate

  • Article by: MATT MCKINNEY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 2, 2012 - 2:01 PM

Victim was to move out of apartment in one week, but roommate wanted him out immediately.

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A former Somali militia soldier who saw years of fighting before emigrating to the United States was arrested in the stabbing death in Minneapolis of his roommate late Monday night, 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 homicide took place in one of the upstairs apartments of the building that houses the Otanga Grocery store, in the 500 block of Cedar Avenue S. in Minneapolis.

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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.

"They are in mourning," said Bihi. 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 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.

Police were called to the apartment in the 500 block of Cedar Avenue S. at about 10:15 p.m. Monday. 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.

He fled the fighting and at some point arrived in the United States. He had been living in Maine when he moved to Minnesota last year, Bihi said.

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.

Matt McKinney • 612-673-7329

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