A former Somali military commander who was accused of committing war crimes in the 1980s was reportedly spotted driving for Uber in Virginia. Yusuf Abdi Ali has been living in the United States since he was deported from Canada following an investigation into his alleged war crimes by the CBC.
Business Insider reports that former Somali military commander Yusuf Abdi Ali was spotted driving for Uber in Virginia. Ali was accused of torture and burning civilians alive while acting as a general under dictator Siad Barre; now Ali is an Uber Pro Diamond driver rated 4.89 out of 5 stars based on previous passengers experiences. Uber has since suspended Ali from driving with them.
Ali was discovered driving for Uber as part of a CNN investigation which states that he has been working for the company since November 2017. Ali, who has been accused of murder over 100 men, was said to have personally committed atrocities according to eyewitnesses from Somali war zones. “Two men were caught, tied to a tree. Oil was poured on them and they were burnt alive. I saw it with my own eyes. I cut away their remains,” one said.
Another eyewitness told Canada’s CBC network: “He caught my brother. He tied him to a military vehicle and dragged him behind. He shredded him into pieces. That’s how he died.” Following CBC’s investigation, Ali was deported from Canada and moved to the United States where he worked as a security guard until 2016 when he was confronted by CNN about the allegations against him.
Recently, undercover CNN reporters ordered an Uber ride with Ali and secretly recorded him. CNN claims that Ali has been driving for Uber for 18 months and worked for the company’s competitor Lyft for a significant period of time. In footage obtained by the CNN reporters of Ali driving for Uber, Ali states that Uber “just want your background check, that’s it. If you apply tonight maybe after two days it will come, you know, everything.”
Uber started background checks for existing drivers in July 2018, Uber’s vice president of safety and insurance Gus Fuldne said at the time: “This new continuous checking technology will strengthen our screening process and improve safety.”
On Monday, a court in Alexandria, Virginia, heard opening statements from lawyers for Ali and Farhan Mohamoud Tani Warfaa. Warfaa stated that Ali shot him and left him for dead during an interrogation at a Somalian village in 1988. Ali was allegedly the leader of the Somali army’s fifth brigade and was known to soldiers as “Colonel Tukeh,” which translates to “Colonel Crow.” Ali stated that these allegations are “totally baseless.”
Uber has had many issues with properly vetting the background of its drivers, in April of 2019 one Uber driver dropped a passenger off at the airport before returning to their home to rob it. Uber is reportedly “not criminally liable” for a fatal self-driving car test incident which killed a woman in Phoenix, Arizona. The cars back-up driver was a transgender convicted felon and illegal immigrant named Rafaela Vasquez who according to a report from March of 2019, “should be referred to the Tempe police for additional investigation.”