The New York son of Somali singer and politician Saado Ali Warsame is suing the US arm of a money-transfer business, claiming it helped fund the assassination of his mother who returned to Mogadishu in 2012 to work as a Member of Parliament.
Ms Warsame, who moved to Minneapolis in the early 1990s during the Somali civil war, was shot and killed by Al-Shabaab terrorists in Mogadishu, Somalia, in July 2014.
Her son, Harbi Hussein, who was born in New York but now lives in Minnesota, filed the case against Dahabshiil in Manhattan Federal Court last week.
Dahabshiil is the largest money-transfer company in Africa, and it has been accused of funding terrorism by allowing people to send and receive money anonymously.
Ms Warsame even wrote a song about Dahabshiil (whose name means “gold smelter” in Somali) called “Don’t Do Business With The Blood Smelter” and Hussein says his mother’s activist songs and strong feminism made her a target for terrorists.
“She was one of the few Somali female musicians to go on stage without covering her head and she sometimes wore pants, which is unusual for women in Somalia,” reads part of the lawsuit in which Hussein seeks unspecified damages.
Kenya reacts to Dahabshiil ‘Al Shabaab remittances’
In April this year the Government of Kenya, hit by intermittent attacks carried out by Al Shabaab militants, suspended the licenses of 13 Somali remittance firms including Dababshiil, following the attack on Garissa University Campus in which 148 students were slain.
Dahabshiil, which operates in 124 including Uganda, is a market leader in the remittances industry and serves about 95 per cent of the international agencies and charities working in Somalia.
Dahabshiil’s Kenyan license was re-issued two months later in June after President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to issue new regulations governing the operations of the 13 suspended firms.