October 29, 2011 2 Comments
-Christopher Anzalone (Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University)
Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen’s Radio Al-Andalus aired what is reportedly two audio segments, in Somali and English, of an interview with “the martyr” (al-shahid) ‘Abdi Salaam (‘Abdi Salaan), one of the insurgents killed in a brazen attack on an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) military base near Mogadishu’s sports stadium today. The name of the Somali-American that insurgents claim carried out a “self-martyrdom” (istishhadi) operationas part of the attack was earlier given by insurgent-connected sources as “Asadullah al-Amriki,” meaning the “American Lion of God.” One of the suspects wanted by the FBI on allegations of providing material support to Harakat al-Shabab is ‘Abdi Salaan Hussein ‘Ali.
In the audio message, the young man argues that military jihad as defined by Harakat al-Shabab has become an individual obligation (fard ‘ayn) as opposed to a communal obligation (fard kifaya) in today’s world. He urges Muslims in every country, whether it be “America, Canada, China, Australia,” to wage this type of “jihad” since, he says, “the Ummah [worldwide Muslim community] is waiting for us….Our goal is to die as Muslims and help the other Muslim brothers and sisters in the world, help the Ummah, and establish khilafa [the caliphate] soon…” He urges his listeners to come to Somalia “soon.”
In a statement, Harakat al-Shabab claims to have killed 80 Ugandan soldiers in this attack, though these numbers have not been verified. AMISOM sources say that at least 10 people were killed in a heavy battle between insurgents disguised as soldiers of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and AMISOM forces. Two suicide bombers reportedly detonated their explosive vests near the gate while other insurgents stormed the base, though details remain contested and reports are confused as to what actually happened. This latest attack, together with heavy casualties AMISOM reportedly suffered earlier this past week in fighting in the district of Daynile in Mogadishu, clearly show that Harakat al-Shabab remains capable of carrying out operations inside the capital city, even in districts supposedly “secured” by AMISOM and the TFG. AMISOM says it only suffered 10 dead in the Daynile fighting, though eyewitness accounts and new reporting from inside Burundi suggest that its casualties were much higher.
More details will likely emerge in the coming days about the Somali-American, as they did in June with the last Somali-American would-be suicide bomber killed fighting for Harakat al-Shabab, Farah Mohamed Beledi.