Tag Archives: Ahmed Abdi Godane

Uganda – seizure of Al Shabab explosives

BBC

Uganda police seize ‘explosives from al-Shabab cell’

Ugandan police stand guard outside a popular shopping mall in the capital Kampala - 14 September 2014Ugandan authorities urged the public to remain vigilant amid fears that there could be more terrorist cells

Police in Uganda say they have seized large amounts of explosives during raids on suspected al-Shabab militants.

Authorities said the terrorist cell was planning to carry out imminent attacks in the capital Kampala.

Nineteen people have been arrested and are being interrogated about their intentions, a police spokesman said.

Uganda has been on high alert since al-Shabab’s leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was killed in a US air strike in Somalia earlier this month.

Last week, the US embassy in Kampala warned of possible revenge attacks against US targets in response to the air strike on 2 September.

On Sunday, the US lifted its warnings after saying it believed the “immediate threat of an al-Shabab attack has been effectively countered”.

More terrorist cells?

But Ugandan Information Minister Rose Namayanja urged the public to “remain vigilant” as authorities continue investigating the planned attack.

“The operation is still going on,” Ms Namayanja said. “We just want to ensure that we exhaust all the leads so that there are no more terrorist cells.”

Police said the suspected al-Shabab cell had been planning to carry out attacks in Kampala and other towns over the weekend.

A Ugandan contingent of the African Union force on patrol in Somalia - 27 February 2012Uganda has been targeted by al-Shabab militants because its troops are part of the AU force in Somalia

“We are interrogating 19 to see what leads we get to help expand the investigation,” police spokesman Fred Enanga told reporters.

He said the suspects had been found with “explosive materials related to acts of terror” and their intentions “were very, very clear.”

The BBC’s Catherine Byaruhanga says the suspects are believed to be foreigners.

Ugandan troops are part of the African Union force in Somalia, known as Amisom, that is fighting al-Shabab militants.

The government in Kampala said it had provided the US with key intelligence regarding Godane’s movements ahead of the US strike.

Al-Shabab has vowed to retaliate for the death of its leader.

The Islamist group, which wants to overthrow the UN-backed government in Somalia, has since named Ahmad Umar as its new leader.

Its fighters were behind twin blasts that killed 76 football fans who were watching the World Cup final in Kampala in July 2010.

At the time, Godane said the attack was retribution for Uganda’s deployment of troops as part of the AU force in Somalia.

Somalia – suicide bomber kills 12 in attack on AU troop convoy

BBC

Somalia car bomb suicide attack ‘kills 12′

A suicide car bomber has killed 12 people in an attack aimed at African Union (AU) troops in Somalia, an official has said.

A car laden with explosives was rammed into an AU convoy travelling south-west of the capital, Mogadishu, said local governor Adukadir Mohamed Sidi.

This is the first attack since militant Islamist group al-Shabab vowed to avenge the killing of its leader Ahmed Abdi Godane last week.

He was killed in a US air strike.

“The car packed with explosives hit one of the armoured trucks,” Mr Sidi told Agence France-Presse news agency on Monday.

“Twelve civilians in a minibus were killed, and 27 others were wounded,” he said.

The BBC’s Mohamed Moalimu in Mogadishu says the injured include AU soldiers.

Mr Sidi told him the wounded were being rushed to hospital in Mogadishu.   BBC

US targets al-Shabaab leader

Bloomberg

U.S. Targets al-Shabaab Leader as Africans Meet on Attacks

Source: AFP/Getty Images

This undated and unlocated picture provided by U.S. website ‘Rewards for Justice’ shows top al-Shabaab leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane also known as Ahmed Abdi Aw-Mohamed.

Source: AFP/Getty Images

This undated and unlocated picture provided by U.S. website ‘Rewards for Justice’ shows top al-Shabaab leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane also known as Ahmed Abdi Aw-Mohamed.

U.S. drones targeted the head of the Islamist insurgent group al-Shabaab in southern Somalia, a regional governor said, as African leaders met in Kenya to discuss ways of dealing with the threat posed by militants.

Ahmed Abdi Godane was among a number of “high-ranking” al-Shabaab officials who were meeting at Dhaytubako, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) southwest of the capital, Mogadishu, when the drones struck late yesterday, Lower Shabelle Governor Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur said in a phone interview today. The Pentagon said in an e-mailed statement that it carried out an operation against al-Shabaab, without providing further details.

“We believe that a large number of senior al-Shabaab officials have been hurt in the attack, but I cannot specifically confirm if Godane was killed,” Mohamed Nur said. “He was among those meeting during the attack.”

Godane, also known as Ahmed Abdi Aw-Mohamed, was named as emir of al-Shabaab in December 2007, according to the United Nations, which lists him among 13 organizations and individuals subject to sanctions. In June 2013, he carried out a purge of dissident leaders to tighten his control over the group, assassinating Ibrahim al-Afghani, a senior al-Shabaab leader who had criticized Godane’s leadership, according to Austin, Texas-based Stratfor Global Intelligence.

In September 2013, Godane claimed responsibility for an attack on the Westgate shopping mall in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, in which at least 67 people died. The U.S. has offered a $7 million reward for information on his whereabouts.

Militants Killed

The Associated Press said that Godane was in one of two vehicles hit in the drone strike, citing Abu Mohammed, a commander of al-Shabaab. Mohammed did not say whether Godane was among six militants killed in the attack, it said.

The U.S. has carried out previous raids in Somalia, including one in January that targeted an unidentified al-Shabaab leader. The group, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda, has been fighting to establish an Islamic state in Somalia since 2006.

No further information is available about yesterday’s strike, Defense Department spokeswoman Lt.-Col. Vanessa Hillman said in an e-mailed response to questions.

African leaders meeting in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, said more concerted action is needed to defeat the threat posed by al-Shabaab and other insurgent groups in Africa. Governments on the continent have failed to take action that is “commensurate” with the threat posed by militant groups, African Union Peace and Security Council Chairman Idriss Deby said at the summit.

‘Terrorist Incidents’

Attacks by militants have left thousands of people dead across the continent. Boko Haram Islamist militants in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer, killed more than 2,000 people in the first half of this year in their campaign to impose Islamic rule, according to Human Rights Watch.

On the other side of the continent, at least 179 people have died in “terrorist incidents” in Kenya, Bath-based risk consultancy Maplecroft said, while in Libya, Islamists are battling for control of the capital, Tripoli.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced at the summit that a fund will be created to combat militant groups, without providing further details.

In a statement issued at the end of the meeting, the African Union Peace and Security Council urged its members to work toward preventing recruitment of their nationals into militant groups operating on the continent and other territories like Iraq and Syria.

The council also urged member states to increase their efforts to stop transnational organized crime including drug trafficking so that insurgents don’t gain proceeds from those activities.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mohamed Sheikh Nor in Mogadishu at msheikhnor@bloomberg.net; David Malingha Doya in Nairobi at dmalingha@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net Paul Richardson, Karl Maier

Somalia: al Shabab says it has merged with al Qaeda

BBC

Islamist militant group al-Shabab, which controls much of Somalia, has released a joint video with al-Qaeda, announcing the two groups have merged.

Al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, known as Mukhtar Abu Zubair, said he “pledged obedience” to al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri.

 

The two groups have long worked together and foreigners are known to fight alongside Somali militants.

 

The announcement comes as al-Shabab is under pressure on several fronts.

Africa Union troops supporting the forces of the UN-backed government have taken control of the capital, Mogadishu, while both Kenya and Ethiopia have sent forces into Somalia to push back the Islamists.

Al-Shabab, however, still controls many southern and central areas of the country.

However, correspondents say al-Shabab’s policy of banning many foreign aid agencies from areas it controls during the region’s worst drought in 60 years has lost the group some of its popular support.

The United Nations says that although the famine in Somalia is officially over, a third of the population still needs urgent feeding.  Read more…