Topic: Al-Qaeda
Exclusive
Insurgent Leader's Predictions And Intentions At Odds With Past Retreats
Al-Shabaab fighters training near Kismayo (File Photo)
Al-Shabaab fighters training near Kismayo (File Photo)

The Al-Qaeda linked group, al-Shabaab continues to lose ground to the allied forces of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG), Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF), Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) and local pro-government militias, and Somali National Army. Al Shabaab fighters have re-grouped in and around their last remaining stronghold, the port city of Kismayo in Lower Juba, vowing to defend it at all costs.

Somalia Report wanted to know if and when Al Shabaab was prepared to make a stand. There have been numerous reports of Al Shabaab fighters fleeing north along the coast, division amongst leadership, arrests of key AS officials trying to cross the border and a general transition of al Shabaab from a controlling governance into a hit and run terrorist group. It would be premature to predict the islamic groups downfall or ouster but their control over port revenue from Kismayo and ability to move in the south still continues. There are no clear estimates of how many fighters al Shabaab can field but AMISOM forces continue to grow. Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti, Burundi and even Sierra Leone contribute troops, western nations continue to provide training and funding evidenced in the recent arrival of heavy truck mounted weapons recently delivered from the United States via contractors.

The recently bolstered foreign and domestic forces have seized key towns and villages from the militants including Busar, Inda El, Damase, El Afe and Faafahdhun in the northern sector and Dhobley, Qoqani, Tabta, Hayo, and Dabilo in the central sector. The allied forces have also captured the coastline side of the southern sector that is Raskamboni, Burgavo, Kulbio and Badhaadhe, inching towards the key port town of Kismayo.

Somalia Report sources indicate that today 70-80% of al-Shabaab's army remains in and around Kismayo. The tactic of running away in the face of superior forces began in Mogadishu but the space, movement and support of al Shabaab is being rapidly reduced. AMISOM forces are cleaning up the Afgoye corridor removing a large number of population from al Shabaab control and predation. There have been no mass surrenders but when AMISOM and the TFG moves towards Kismayo, a political move must be made to prevent a bloodbath. The relatively untrained and uncoordinated fighters of al Shabaab are adept at hit and run attacks but cannot hold fixed positions.

As the group loses each city, their income from taxation and checkpoint bribes dwindles. To maintain the economic revenue from the commercial center, port taxes and control over the strategic location the insurgent group will need to keep military control over the port city. Control of Kismayo will also severely impede movement of supplies and fighters.

Despite the history of strategic withdrawal, al-Shabaab claims they are capable of defending the port city, according to two al-Shabaab officials interviewed by Somalia Report.

"We are capable of defending Kismayo and we will also protect our entire country. So long as there are foreign troops in Somalia, we shall not stop fighting," Sheikh Daud Omar in Kismayo told Somalia Report.

Kismayo
©Somalia Report
Kismayo

A Somali political analyst based in Nairobi, Kenya, Geddi Ismail, told Somalia Report that al-Shabaab's declining power in Somalia was necessitated by a number of factors.

"Al-Shabaab's strict and cruel treatment of innocent locals and the imposition of unreasonably heavy and unnecessary levies, in which low income Somalis can't afford to pay what they earn per day, among other things, are why the people are turning on the group. I don't think there is Somali who is appreciating the existence of al-Shabaab anymore," said Mr. Geddi.

"I really don't think they can defend Kismayo because of their weakening power and their military tactics explains their incapability to go against TFG and their allies,” added Mr. Geddi.

Meanwhile al-Shabaab are accused of forcibly recruiting young children to fight, but Sheikh Omar called the accusation baseless.

"It is true we carried out a mobilization effort for people to participate in the jihad and a good number of them responded to our call, but such false accusations will not make us withdraw our mission,” concluded Sheikh Omar.

Interview with Sheikh Idiris Abu Manzul

Somalia Report recently conducted an interview with Sheikh Idiris Abu Manzul, an al-Shabaab official in Somalia's Lower Jubba, region to discuss their operations and plans for defending Kismayo.

Thank you for giving this exclusive interview to Somalia Report. Can you please briefly tell us about al-Shabaab's recent operations?

Our operation is going on as required and for the last three weeks our operations have intensified and we expect our target is near. Our forces are ready to battle anytime and soon will launch attacks on the KDF and TFG in Lower and Middle Jubba regions.

How senior are you, Sheikh Manzul?

I am in charge of suicides and explosions and have been serving this position for the last three years and have achieved several tangible activities. I give training to the young people who join al-Shabaab and want to be equipped with skills and know how to carry out operations as per required by our policy.

How do you give training to young people?

Our training programs are carried out in many different ways depending on the operation. We are preparing for our Mujahidin to carry out the operation whether it is one based on an explosion in which the person carrying out has to loose his or her life for the sake of the religion of Islam or whether it involves killing the infidels and their pro-infidel militias. These trainings are passed down to the young people in a manner only known to us that I cannot share with you now because it is one of our top secrets.

Who is in charge of al-Shabaab currently?

Sheikh Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr is our top senior officer who is in charge of the entire authority of how we operate. He is a leader who makes decisions in terms of religion.

How many al-Shabaab soldiers currently operate in Lower and Middle Jubba regions of southern Somalia?

It is secret information which I cannot give you because we don’t want our enemy to believe that we are weak, but our Mujahidin are better equipped to face the infidels who invaded our country and religion. We will attack their bases and face them soon, insha Allah.

Why does al-Shabaab recruit women, elders and even young children?

It is incumbent upon every Muslim to participate in the holy war and we don’t force people to go to the frontlines. They came and requested to be trained as Mujahidin. People should defend the religion of Allah.

If KDF and TFG forces capture Kismayo, what will al-Shabaab do?

We believe that they will not even reach Jilib let alone to capture Kismayo and the benevolent almighty Allah is with us and will destroy the enemy. In case the allied group seizes the port city, then we will change our tactics of war and will begin hit and run attacks and suicide attacks, which will wreak havoc on their operations.

Why is Kismayo important to al-Shabaab?

First of all, it is a port city which is located in a strategic region. It is one of our main sources of income since the tax we collect from the port allows us to carry out our activities. We also export charcoal from the port and that gives us huge capital. Our Muslim brothers in Afghanistan and many other Muslim counties are also able to reach us using the sea route and can easily help us with military equipment and also foreign Mujahidins. We will not lose Kismayo since it is our last resort and we will defend it against whatever circumstances we face.

What are the major plans of al-Shabaab?

Our main objectives and plans are many including:

1. To fight tooth and nail in order to defend the religion of Allah and liberate KDF and TFG from both Middle and Lower Jubba regions in southern Somalia

2. After we eliminate the KDF and TFG from southern Somalia, we plan to impose Islamic sheria (sharia) law across the country

3. Retaliatory attacks to regain the regions we lost and will be conducted by brave Mujahiddins who fight for the sake of Allah and will be rewarded in paradise

4. Our plans are to double our efforts to send more intelligent agents and suicider bombers inside Kenya in revenge for their aggression

Can we say al-Shabaab militants are facing stiff challenges as the KDF, TFG, ASWJ and AMISOM vowed to capture Kismayo and flush out al-Shabaab?

No, we cannot say that we are either facing any difficulties nor weakened our power because we even have our brothers who carry out explosions and attacks inside Kenya and our operations will escalate and Kenyans will test the bitterness of the casualties that they will met.

Currently the political deadlock of Somalia is deteriorating and people are waiting for a stable government. What is your comment on that?

First, I would like to tell the traitors and the mercenary politicians that they will suffer irretrievable losses and the puppet government will be overthrown soon by our Mujahidin. Secondly I would encourage the Somali people to continue working with the Mujahidiin and we promise that we will be capture the whole country and will establish an Islamic government.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Autobiography Seems to Indicate Jihadi Spends More Time at a Desk Than Fighting
By ROBERT YOUNG PELTON 05/17/2012
Amriki's New Book...Part One
Amriki's New Book...Part One

American Omar Hammami has just released his autobiography online on jihadi websites. The 28-year-old Alabama native had maintained a low profile after posting a video expressing his fear of death at the hands of the group he came to support. After his reported arrest and investigation by al Shabaab there were unfounded rumors of his death. Somalia Report was the first and only outlet to confirm his health and location through his neighbors and immediate family.

Hammami has been both a popular mascot and an embarrassment to al Qaeda and al-Shabaab. On one hand, the Southern Somali-based Islamists seek to recruit fighters and support from the outside world while on the other insisting that foreigners must be expelled. Foreigners in Somalia have been a key media strategy more for the need to show international support rather than their military skills. Estimates vary widely and wildly from 3000 to around 100. There is also an ebb and flow of foreign fighters between Yemen, Kenya and an even more not quite clearly defined relationship between al-Shabaab and al Qaeda. Al Qaeda has typically funneled Arabic speaking volunteers or Afghan trained muj into islamic conflicts around the world. Hammami only mentions bin Laden and al Qaeda once, insisting that his call to jihad was a long, complex series of influences. He mentions that "ever since Egypt it was my dream to join his army and to have the distinction of being that much closer to being led by Shaykh Usaamah himself. By His grace, Allaah, the Exalted, prohibited me from making such a rash decision at that time and the benefits of that became manifest later on in the story."

His entry was facilitated by the now deceased embassy bomber Fazul Abdullah Mohammed but it appears from the book that he just showed up in Mogadishu on his self funded Hejira. He remarks that when he first arrived, "Most of the brothers I met on that day, have all either been martyred or imprisoned by the disbelievers (may Allaah hasten their release)." Which may be prophetic. He makes numerous references to foreign volunteers who have been killed or imprisoned.

He trained as a member of the "Muhaajiriin" in Kismayo (although he describes himself considered to be a "virus" in the camp" and soon became the best known surviving foreign jihadi. Hammami has recorded and posted a number of videos that range from rap songs to recruitment to somewhat emo-jihadi cry for help put online in March. Somalia Report estimates that there around 50 t0 150 surviving foreign volunteers at any one time with foreign passports (most of them ethnic Somalis). None seek the type of vanity press that Omar has. He admits in his book that he has no military skills but is an eager student.

Hammami whose jihad name is Abu Mansoor "al- Amriki", was often trotted out by Mukhtar Robow for press conferences but they have not been seen together in a long time.

His new 127 page e-book “The Story of An American Jihaadi, Part One" was released on May 16, 2012. In it Hamammi rambles on about life in Somalia away from Chinese restaurants and southern cooking. Those looking for wisdom or insight from the 28 year old will be disappointed. In the tail end of Part One, he answers questions posed by Abu Qalam ar-Ruumi. One question posed is about the comparison between Syrian/Christian Steve Jobs with he answers "I don't know that much about him, and he is dead now, so I couldn't really hash it out with him now." Don't expect much depth in this book.

When asked what he has personally accomplished, he answers: "My biggest personal achievement is to have performed Hijrah and to have engaged in Jihaad. I can only pray that Allaah grants me a righteous ending.

I cannot say that anything I personally did or said has affected the way the Jihaad has been carried out, because there are too many variables involved in each decision. One man's opinion is only a drop in the bucket when it comes to the matters of the entire Ummah. I guess I'll leave history to conjecture about that after I'm gone.

I think the biggest accomplishment of the Jihaad in Somaalia is how it (despite the flaws in implementation) showed the viability of the Jihaadi vision and how it showed that it can be obtained through armed struggle. The Islaamic Wilaayahs (though not perfect) are a sneak peek of what's to come. Of course we have a long way to go till the Khilaafah is fully reestablished on firm foundations, but I think when we take things in perspective of history as a whole, it's just around the corner."

He admits he will live his life as a fugitive and insists that the U.S. drone assassination program is designed to kill every "white fighter" with al Shabaab in Somalia. Back in April of 2011, the TFG mistakenly reported that the American had been killed fighting in Mogadishu. Now we know that he was always probably hard at work on his autobiography.

This week Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri, rumored to be based in Pakistan, has also exhorted Somali's to keep fighting and not to be afraid of drone attacks.

Hammami's book can be downloaded 93732117_The_Story_of_an_American_Jihaadi.pdf:

Omar Hammami
Omar Hammami

Introduction

In the Name of Allaah the Most Beneficent the Most Mericful. Indeed all praises are due to the Lord of the Worlds and may He send peace, blessings, and salaah upon His Messenger and upon his family and companions, as well as those who follow his guidance until the Day of Judgment.

Due to the unpredictable nature of the environment in the lands of Jihaad, I decided now is as good a time as any to release the first part of my auto-biography. Although nothing special, I thought my addition to the Jihaadi library could at least provide some benefit. I find the advice of Abu Muscab as-Suuri1 that we should document our history extremely important for a number of reasons:

1) events are happening more rapidly in the age of Globalization,

2) the war of narratives has become even more important than the war of navies, napalms, and knives, 3) with the internet, recording events and spreading reports of them has become extremely easy (so we should take whatever we can get).

Due to the necessity of security the first part of this auto-biography only reaches up to my affiliation with Xarakah ash-Shabaab al-Mujaahidiin. I'm sure everyone can understand the need for such measures. But in all reality the lands of Jihaad are all similar and history inevitably repeats itself, so I would imagine that the following information is enough of a glimpse into reality to provide the foundations for future insight.

Still alive and well (by May 16 2012),

Omar Hammami

Somaalia

Exclusive
Ali Bakaar, Associate of Salah Nahban, Arrested, Sent to Kenya
Kenyan forces near the border
Kenyan forces near the border
Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops captured a 35-year foreign al-Shabaab fighter at the Somali-Kenyan border town on Friday night. According to Somalia Report sources, the suspect named "Ali Bakaar" was captured in Hosingow a few miles from the Kenyan border. Hosingow had been an al-Shabaab training camp, but is now controlled by the Kenyans and TFG.

Ali Bakaar is believed to be a longtime associate of deceased al Qaeda member Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, who was killed by U.S. Special Operations forces in September of 2009. The man was arrested while aboard a bus heading to Kenya from Kismayo as it stopped at a checkpoint in Hosingow. He was among twenty passengers who described Ali Bakaar as a Tanzanian due to his language. Prior to boarding the bus, he had been dropped off at the Kismayo bus station by a group of youths in a car.

TFG troops based in the Lower Juba region told Somalia Report that the foreigner was considered to be a high ranking member of al-Shabaab.

TFG Sergeant Mohamud Ali Osman told Somalia Report they were informed of his presence on the bus.

“We received a tip that a foreign member of al-Shabaab, was hiding in a bus heading to Kenya. We found the man in the back seat and he tried to escape. Our troops captured him immediately. We would describe him as a white man. He claimed Tanzanian citizenship, with his birthplace as Mombasa, Kenya. He doesn’t speak Somali, but rather Kiswahili language,” said the official.

Mr Ahmed Geedi, a Member of Parliament from Lower Juba region, said that the Somali Defense Forces were given information by civilians from Kismayo.

“He was an al-Shabaab officers who fought in Mogadishu before they were forced from the capital. He then moved to the south. We believe he is either a Kenyan or Tanzanian citizen."

The TFG handed the suspect to Kenya Defense Forces for further investigation. The TFG is supporting the Kenyan Defense Forces, now part of AMISOM, in their bid to oust al-Shabaab and bring security to the border.

Kidnap Victims Rescued

That same night in Hosingow area, the TFG also rescued ten kidnapped civilians in a late night raid. Nine of the rescued hostages were reported in good condition. One captive was shot and killed as military forces approached and their al-Shabaab captors ran into the bush.

Mohamed Ali Dhuubow, a government officer at Hosingow, said, “ We spent last night searching for the abducted civilians. At midnight we found them. The kidnappers ran away and cruelly shot one of hostages who later died."

Exclusive
American Jihadi Keeping a Low Profile in Marka After Embarrassing Video
By ROBERT YOUNG PELTON 04/27/2012
Omar Hammami AKA Abu Mansoor al-Amriki
Video Posted by Omar Hammami
Omar Hammami AKA Abu Mansoor "al-Amriki"
Omar Hammami (Abu Mansoor "al-Amriki") arrived in Marka late on Wednesday along with several al-Shabaab leaders and fighters according to credible sources who spoke to Somalia Report on Friday. The information came from three sources in Marka who spoke to Somalia Report and are very close to al-Amriki himself and see him on a regular basis.

It appears that despite his concerns and reports by other news outlets about his death or execution, Omar Hammami, his wives and children are well.

A family member explained to Somalia Report, ”It is surprising how many media houses have falsely circulated that the Mujahid al-Amriki has been killed by his affiliates. It is shame for some media to report false news on him and that is a kind of prattle."

A Somali website and Bill Roggio of Long War Journal reported that Amriki was killed.

“I saw his wife and his son this morning and al-Amriki is well and even not under house arrest and he lives his life mostly in Marka. They are our neighbors and I see him every time moving around the city and it is not secret,” said the credible sources. No photographs, videos or recordings of Hammami were provided. "Sometimes it is normal for him to travel to Kismayo, Barawe, then back to his Home of Marka,” the source added.

Other information obtained by Somalia Report from sources in Lower Shabelle region indicates that the 27 year-old Alabama native who calls himself "al-Amriki" is not under full interrogation by other al-Shabaab leaders. It is not know whether he is targeted for assassination by US anti terrorism forces similar to other other Americans like Anwar Awlaki and an American publisher who was killed in Yemen by a drone strike but had not officially taken up arms or engaged in attacks against Americans.

Hammami has created videos and tried to recruit foreigners to come to Somalia to fight against foreign elements. Despite his rap attempts to welcome death by "cruise missile" he posted a quite uncharacteristically cowardly video in Arabic and English in which he expressed his fear about al-Shabaab elements potentially plotting to kill him. Supposedly to communicate to arabic speaking al-Qaeda mentors.

Hammami was reported killed by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Mogadishu last year but this was determined to be mistaken identification of a dead al-Shabaab fighter.

There have been rumors and evidence of internal disagreements within al Shabaab with increased pressure on leaders to find refuge as pressure builds on their safe enclaves in the south.

Somalia Report also confirmed that several other al-Shabaab leaders like Sheikh Fu’ad Mohamed Khalaf (known as Shangole) are in southern Somalia as many others Somali news websites reported that most leaders fled to Bari region, especially the Galgala Mountains. Somalia Report has learned that Sheikh Hasan Dahir Aweys is currently in Eritrea negotiating a deal and Mansur Robow is currently negotiating with elements in the UAE where his family is living safely. Sheikh Abdulkadir Mumin is one of the prominent al-Shabaab sheikhs or clerics who reached Bari region especially Galgala and Golis hills.

Breaking News
Government Claims Al-Qaeda Links
By RASHID NUUNE 03/27/2012
Briton Clive Dennis
© Somalia Report, all rights reserved
Briton Clive Dennis

On Tuesday, Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) officials arrested a British citizen at Mogadishu's Aden Adde International Airport. The detainee, a British citizen born in Jamaica identified as Clive Dennis, 45, was taken in for questioning when he was unable to produce a visa.

When questioned by officials, Dennis explained that he was in the country to "help Islam," according to TFG spokesman Abdirahman Omar Osman Yarisow.

Dennis is suspected of having links to al-Qaeda, according to Yarisow, although it is unlikely that an al-Qaeda militant would choose to enter the country in such a manner.

Police asserted to Somalia Report that Dennis was carrying drugs as well as a variety of knives. Upon questioning, Dennis told the police that he had come to Somalia to live in Kismayo, where he hoped to live a 'stress-free' life.

The TFG has stated that their investigation into the matter is ongoing. Somalia Report will continue to monitor developments.