Shot terror suspect’s dad ‘attacked by terrorist’

Raghe Mohamed Abdi was shot dead by police on a highway south of Brisbane. -AAP Image

By Australian Associated Press

Attacked by a terrorist in Somalia, Mohammed Abdi sought protection and relocated to Australia.

Years later his son Raghe Abdi was shot dead by police on a highway south of Brisbane in what was described as a “terrorism event”.

Investigations suggested Abdi killed elderly couple Maurice and Zoe Antill at their home before he was shot the next morning on the Logan Motorway wielding a knife and yelling “Allahu Akbar”.

His father Mr Abdi on Tuesday told an inquest into their December 2020 deaths that he did not know why his son “chose this path”.

He said a terrorist attack was one of the reasons why he had left Somalia.

“I came here to Australia as an asylum seeker. I sought protection because I was fleeing persecution,” he said.

“One of the reasons I left Somalia was as an aid worker I was attacked by a terrorist.

“The person who attacked me tried to blow me up believing that I was preaching Christianity – I am a devoted Muslim.”

When he arrived in Australia as a young man, Mr Abdi said he was determined to live his life, work hard and abide by the law.

“And that is how I wanted to raise my son and my children,” he said.

He did not know what led his son to the fateful showdown with police.

“I can only conclude that there was a lot of complex issues that he was dealing with which include … elements of mental health,” Mr Abdi said.

He first noticed his son’s “disengagement” when Abdi was charged with fraud and failed to appear in court in June 2019.

Abdi was also being monitored by the Queensland joint counter-terrorism team.

It was relating to an investigation into whether he was preparing to be involved in a foreign incursion after being intercepted trying to leave Brisbane Airport for Somalia in 2019.

While Abdi was remanded in custody for 15 months from June 2019, his father said he had concerns about his son’s mental health and repeatedly tried to get help.

Abdi thought if he engaged with the court system he would breach his Islamic beliefs and was “preoccupied with punishment and going into hellfire”, his father said.

At one stage Mr Abdi attempted to involve his son in deradicalisation programs while in jail.

However, mental health organisations told him “they only worked with victims” and there was nothing they could do, Mr Abdi said.

He even organised for an Islamic scholar to explain to Abdi that he wouldn’t be violating his faith if he co-operated with the legal system, coroner Stephanie Gallagher was told.

Abdi’s willingness to accept support fluctuated but he would not speak with authorities in jail due to a fear he would be targeted by other prisoners, his father said.

Abdi was eventually released on bail in September 2020.

Three months later he was shot dead.

Asked about its impact on his family, Mr Abdi described it as a “slow death”.

“Every morning I wake up with anxiety, my children are going through PTSD,” he said.

But Mr Abdi also acknowledged the Antills’ deaths as their family looked on at Brisbane’s Coroners Court.

“I am not saying that Raghe killed but my sympathy goes to them (Antills) because that was a tragic death and they deserve to live another life with their family,” he said.