Somalia al-Shabab Chief Likely Dead in US Strike

Wednesday, 03 Sep 2014 08:45 AM

 

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

The death of the leader of Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels in a US air strike is a "very strong probability," but still remains unconfirmed, security sources told AFP Wednesday.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby confirmed that the late Monday attack was aimed at the group's leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, also referred to as Abu-Zubayr, and that the ordnance definitely hit a meeting of Shebab chiefs.

But he said it was unclear if Godane, listed by the US State Department as one of the world's eight top terror fugitives, had been killed.

"US special operations forces using manned and unmanned aircraft destroyed an encampment and a vehicle using several Hellfire missiles and laser-guided munitions," Kirby said.

According to a Western security source, who asked not be identified, there was "a very strong probability that he is dead."

"This requires verification on the ground, which is not simple," the source told AFP.

A senior Somali security official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said he believed the Shebab were now "talking about a successor" to Godane.

"We believe that the Shebab leader is dead, though we don't have his body. Most probably he is dead," said the official, while cautioning that "we are still assessing the situation."

Contacted by AFP, Shebab officials maintained their position of refusing to confirm or deny the reports.

"We don't want to comment on this American propaganda that they have killed our leader," a senior Shebab official said.

Washington has carried out a series of drone missile strikes in the past, including attacks reportedly targeting Godane.

 

 

The Shebab are fighting to topple Somalia's internationally-backed government, and regularly launch attacks against state targets, as well as in neighbouring countries that contribute to an African Union force -- including last year's siege of the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi that left at least 67 dead.

The air raid came days after African Union (AU) troops and Somali government forces launched "Operation Indian Ocean", a major offensive aimed at seizing key ports from the Islamist rebels and cutting off one of their key sources of revenue -- multi-million dollar exports of charcoal.

As the offensive gathers pace, authorities in Mogadishu, the seat of Somalia's fragile government, said late Tuesday they were willing to give "misled" Shebab members one last chance to surrender.

"They can surrender within 45 days, but anyone who stands against that offer will be recognised as a criminal and brought to justice," Somalia's minister for national security, Khalif Ahmed Ereg, told reporters.

Godane, 37, reportedly trained in Afghanistan with the Taliban and took over the leadership of the Shebab in 2008 after then chief Adan Hashi Ayro was killed by a US missile strike.

US authorities have offered a $7-million (5.35-million-euro) reward for information on Godane, similar to the bounty on Nigeria's Boko Haram leader. A tip on the Taliban's Mullah Omar is worth up to $10 million, and Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri fetches $25 million.

If confirmed, Godane's death would be a major blow for the group.

"The irony is that Godane killed (his) would-be obvious successor, Ibrahim al-Afghani, in a major internal rift last year," said Abdi Aynte, who heads the Mogadishu-based Heritage Institute think tank.

 

© AFP 2014

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

North Korea's Internet Access Crashes, Reason Unknown

Monday, 22 Dec 2014 14:06 PM

North Korea's access to the Internet has been hit with outages and is offline today, according to a network-monitoring c . . .

Singer Joe Cocker, 70, Dies of Lung Cancer

Monday, 22 Dec 2014 13:45 PM

Joe Cocker, the raspy-voiced British singer known for his frenzied cover of With a Little Help From My Friends, the te . . .

John Kerry to Cuba: 'Tear Down The Digital Wall'

Monday, 22 Dec 2014 12:12 PM

Secretary of State John Kerry issued a challenge to Cuba to "tear down the digital wall," evoking former President Ronal . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved