Court told of how Somali gangs are involved in drugs
The murder of Mohammed Abdi in Edinburgh last year marked the arrival of Somali gangs in Scotland, a court has been told.
The machine-gunning of the 25-year-old highlighted just how far criminals with their roots in the war-torn horn of Africa have infiltrated Scottish drug markets.
Mr Abdi - who was himself facing charges of dealing crack cocaine - died in a highly unusual gangland shooting involving an automatic weapon.
Prosecutors have now confirmed the three men who have admitted they carried out the murder - Mohamud Mohamud, 30, Cadil Huseen, 23, and Hussein Ali, 26 - were part of a Somali organised crime group.
In a dramatic move on Thursday, the three pleaded guilty to killing Mr Abdi in Duddingston last May 26. Four co-accused walked free after their not guilty pleas were accepted by the Crown.
Yesterday, advocate depute Iain McSporran, prosecuting, made it clear the murder had come after a dispute among criminals.
He said: "The Crown's position is Huseen and Ali were engaged in drug dealing and Mohamud was known to members of the group.
"There appears to have been an organised crime group consisting largely of Somalian males with London connections, operating in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
"That Mohammed Abdi was also engaged in such activities equally seems beyond doubt."
Mr McSporran told the High Court in Glasgow that a falling out between Abdi and others, including Huseen, led to two rival factions being in existence shortly before the murder.
He said: "There was a significant escalation of tensions between the groups in the days before May 26, involving threats and incidents of damage being caused to properties and a car linked to Huseen.
"It is known Abdi and Mohamed Farah were responsible for the damage caused to the house.
"Farah would appear to have come on to the scene from London about the same time as the split of the original group and joined forces with Abdi."
Somali crime groups are known to have substantial operations in London and Birmingham and for some years have moved in the relatively lucrative drugs markets of Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
Law enforcement in Glasgow is also taking an interest in such gangs as they try to exploit the city's small African community as cover.
The gangs recruit men who arrive in Britain as brutalised teenagers after fleeing the violence in Somalia.
The sheer violence of the Duddingston incident was revealed in court yesterday.
The three accused were in a VW Sharan people carrier, according to Mr McSporran, when it was attacked by Mr Abdi and others after a short pursuit amid the dispute between the two groups.
Mr McSporran added: "As Abdi was striking the rear of the vehicle with a baseball bat, he was undoubtedly shot with the machine pistol from within the car."
The court heard five shots were discharged from the machine gun before it jammed. Three of them hit Mr Abdi - the fatal shot was through the chest.
Mr McSporran said: "The Crown's position is the accused were engaged in a common criminal enterprise whose aim was to cause serious injury to one or more members of the rival crime group, including Abdi.
Judge Lord Turnbull will sentence all three murderers next month. He will impose life sentences and determine how long they should serve behind bars before being eligible for parole.