Somalia Season Screening: The Warlords Next Door?

Screening Wednesday 3rd September, 2008

In this extraordinary investigation, Aidan Hartley sets off to find four senior figures in Somalia’s Western backed government who all enjoy close links to Britain. It’s a journey that takes them from the streets of Birmingham and Leicester to the centre of Mogadishu, a city so dangerous that he and director Jim Foster are the only Western journalists on the ground.

Each of the four figures have British or EU passports and homes in UK cities. British taxpayers are financing them in the name of democracy yet in Somalia they are linked to allegations of mass murder, torture, extortion and corruption.

Hartley finds Somali residents in the UK angry and frustrated that the British government are sponsoring politicians who are ruling by force and profiting from the conflict.

To add a bizarre twist to the story, he finds from residents in one Leicester neighbourhood that Somali intelligence chief Gen. Mohamed Darwish formerly worked as a labourer in a local supermarket warehouse.

On the ground in Mogadishu they find a city in chaos and narrowly escape being killed by a roadside bomb that claims three lives and leaves another three seriously injured. We see first hand the humanitarian crisis as the crew investigate refugee camps on the outskirts of Mogadishu, which have become no-go areas for aid workers.

How did these four men become key players in the Somali government and what is the story behind the warlords next door?

Reporter: Aidan Hartley
Director: Jim Foster
Director/Producer: Adam Wishart
Assistant Producer: Abdulkadir Gutale
Length: 59 mins

A Channel 4 Dispatches production