Abu Ubeid Ahmed Omar to Replace Ahmed Abdi Godane as the Al-Shabab Leader

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Abu Ubeid Ahmed Omar to Replace Ahmed Abdi Godane as the Al-Shabab Leader as the Result of an Effective Air Strike

The Somali Islamist militant group al Shabab confirmed on Saturday that its leader Ahmed Godane had been killed in a U.S. air strike on Tuesday September 2, 2014 outside the port city of Barawe. The new leader promised “great distress” to its enemies.

In a statement, al-Shabab also warned: “Avenging the death of our scholars and leaders is a binding obligation on our shoulders that we will never relinquish nor forget no matter how long it takes.” They said in another statement: “By the permission of Allah, you will surely taste the bitter consequences of your actions.”

Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed issued a statement on Friday urging militants to embrace peace after the death of their leader. He announced a 45-day amnesty for militants who were willing to renounce the group. President Uhuru Kenyatta Saturday thanked the U.S. for killing Godane, saying his death provides “a small measure of closure” for victims of the Westgate Mall attack. Kenyatta’s nephew and his fiancé died in that attack, a year ago this month. “We owe the United States, and its soldiers, our heartfelt thanks for bringing an end to Godane’s career of death and destruction; and finally allowing us to begin our healing,” he said. “His death is a stark reminder that those who live by the sword shall perish by the sword,” Kenyatta said.

On Saturday, Somali National Security Minister Kalif Ahmed Ereg told reporters: “Security agencies have obtained information indicating that al-Shabab is now planning to carry out desperate attacks against medical facilities, education centers and other government facilities.”

Mr. Ereg “congratulated the Somali people” on Godane’s death, adding: “The security forces are ready to counter their attacks and we call on people to help the security forces in standing against violent acts.”

Ahmed Godane:

  • US put $7m (£4m) bounty on his head in 2012
  • Pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2009
  • Became al-Shabab’s top commander after US air strike killed his predecessor Aden Hashi Ayro in 2008
  • Sentenced to death in absentia for 2008 attack in Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa
  • Studied in Sudan and Pakistan, where he became radicalized
  • Said to have fought in Afghanistan
  • Was reputed to be a good orator and poet
  • Also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubair

Al Shabab Timeline:

JUNE 1, 2006: Backed by al-Shabab militants, the ICU wrests control of Mogadishu after clashing with a coalition of warlords.

JANUARY 1, 2007 – JANUARY 1, 2008: Galvanized by the invasion, al-Shabab transforms into the most powerful Somali guerilla group, well-funded and thousands strong.

FEBRUARY 1, 2008: The U.S. State Department designates al-Shabab a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

OCTOBER 29, 2008: Shirwa Ahmed, a Somali-American from Minnesota who trained with al-Shabab, becomes the first known U.S. suicide bomber after killing 24 in Hargeisa.

JULY 11, 2010: Al-Shabab carries out its first foreign terror attack with multiple suicide bombings in Kampala, Kenya, killing 74.

AUGUST 1, 2010: In a major turning point, AMISOM and TFG forces push al-Shabab out of Mogadishu and other major urban centers.

FEBRUARY 1, 2012: Ayman al-Zawahiri formally announces the merger of al-Shabab and al-Qaeda.

OCTOBER 1, 2012: Backed by local Somali forces, Kenyan troops sweep into Kismayo, ousting al-Shabab from its last major stronghold, and cutting off a huge source of funding.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2013 – SEPTEMBER 24, 2013: In a multi-day raid on a Nairobi mall, al-Shabab militants kill dozens in the deadliest terrorist attack in Kenya in 15 years.

Kevin Barnard | News Cult