Somali militia group leader dead By ABDULKADIR KHALIF in Mogadishu | Wednesday, February 13  2013 at  18:35

Puntland
Map of Puntland. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The leader of Ahlu Sunna wal-Jamea (ASWJ), Sheikh Mohamed Yusuf Hefow, is dead

The moderate militia group chief died in Mogadishu Wednesday, according to the Somali government and ASWJ officials.

The sheikh had been airlifted from his base in Guri’el town in Galgadud region, 450km north of Mogadishu to a medical facility run by the African Union Mission in Somalia at Halane in the capital.

“We all mourn the death of Sheikh Hefow,” a senior ASWJ official in Mogadishu, Sheikh Aden Moalim Sugow, told the media.

Interior Affairs and National Security minister Abdikarim Hussein Guled, sent a message of condolence to ASWJ leadership and the deceased’s family.

Sheikh Hefow was one of the founders of the moderate Islamic movement that fervently opposed the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab in Central Somalia.

ASWJ was the first militia grouping that broke the taboo associated with the invincibility of Al-Shabaab when it chased the fanatical Islamists from several towns including Abudwaq, Guri’el and Dusamareb in Galgadud region and Mataban in Hiran region.