Swedish police have arrested a prominent Somali leader on suspicion that he was involved in war crimes in the Horn of Africa devasted by years of civil strife, a source in Sweden said on Tuesday.
Abdi Hassan Awale Qeybdid was taken into custody on Sunday in the southern Swedish town of Lund, said Osman Gobdon, a Swedish-based Somali journalist. Qeybdiid has since been transferred to Gothenburg, he added.
The director of information in the Swedish police, Mats Glansberg, said the type of offences Qeybdid was being accused of were difficult to investigate because they involved both international and national law.
"Conventions and many other kinds of legislation apply. The way these control each other is very complicated," Glansberg told the Swedish radio station, Ekot.
The arrest of Qeybdid, a former faction leader allied to Usman Ali Ato, the public works minister in the Somali Transitional Federal Government, followed allegations to the police by a group of Somalis living in Sweden that he had committed murder in Somalia.
"Thirteen Somalis living in Gothenburg filed a compliant with the police, accusing him [Qeybdid] of war crimes," Gobdon said.
He had travelled to Sweden as a part of a delegation of Somali MPs led by the speaker Sharif Hassan Shaykh Aden, to attend an international conference.
Qeybdid, a former Mogadishu police chief, was one of the late Gen. Muhammad Farah Aydid's chief lieutenants, who was involved in a firefight with American troops in 1993, when 18 Americans and hundreds of Somalis were killed.