[QODLink]
Africa

Somalia's al-Shabaab kills US fighter

Omar Hammami, known as al-Amriki or The American, killed in an ambush after falling out with group's leader.

Last Modified: 12 Sep 2013 20:46
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Hammami accused al-Shabaab leaders of living extravagant lifestyles

An American from Alabama who ascended the ranks of Somalia's al-Shabaab armed group high enough to attract a $5 million US government bounty has been killed in an ambush ordered by the group's leader, witnesses said.

Residents in al Baate village in southern Somalia said Omar Hammami, commonly known as Abu Mansoor al-Amriki or 'the American', and a British national known as Usama al-Britani, were shot dead in a dawn raid on their hideout.

Hammami's killing exposed widening rifts in al-Shabaab's top ranks as the group affiliated to al-Qaeda grapples with an African Union-led military offensive that has captured key cities from it, depriving the group of revenues.

"This morning al-Amriki and his comrades were attacked by well-armed fighters," said village resident Hussein Nur on Thursday.

"After a brief fight al-Amriki and his two colleagues were killed. Several of their guards escaped."

A second villager confirmed the gun battle and said he had heard al-Shabaab fighters confirm the deaths, though he had not seen the bodies. 

Hammami is believed to have arrived in Somalia aged 22 in late 2006, shortly before a US-backed Ethiopian military incursion into the Horn of Africa country to rout an Islamist administration that had dislodged the government.

YouTube rap videos

Fluent in Somali, Hammami swiftly became an influential leader of al-Shabaab's foreign fighters, battling to topple a
government seen as a Western puppet and impose a strict interpretation of Sharia law on Somalia.

He gained fame for posting YouTube videos of English-language rap songs he hoped could recruit young fighters.

He first expressed fear for his life in a web video in March 2012 that publicised his rift with al-Shabaab. He said he received another death threat earlier this year that was not carried out.

"Just been shot in neck by Shabab assassin. not critical yet,'' Hammami tweeted in April.

He later wrote on Twitter that the leader of al-Shabaab was sending in forces from multiple directions. 

Hammami had been a thorn in the side of al-Shabaab after accusing the group's leaders of living extravagant lifestyles with the taxes fighters collect from Somali residents.

Another Hammami grievance was that the Somali leaders had sidelined foreign members of al-Shabaab.

Hammami was added to the FBI's Most Wanted Terror list in November 2012 and a $5m bounty was offered for information leading to his capture.

366

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Indonesia's digerati could be crucial to success in the country's upcoming presidential election.
How Brazil's football legend turned every Corinthians' match into a political meeting for democracy.
As the Pakistani army battles Taliban forces, civilians in North Waziristan face an arduous escape for relative safety.
Nepalese trade in a libido-boosting fungus is booming but experts warn over-exploitation could destroy ecosystem.
Featured
Israel's strategy in Gaza remains uncertain, as internal politics are at play for PM Netanyahu.
Greece is holding as many as 6,000 migrants in detention centres, in conditions that have been called appalling.
Long derided for trivialising women, Bollywood is shrugging off its trademark social apathy by upping anti-rape crusade.
Survey of more than 300 colleges shows 40 percent do; highlights lack of training for administrators, law enforcement.
Three years after independence, South Sudan still struggles to escape poverty and conflict.
join our mailing list