American Jihadi Reportedly Killed in an Al-Shabab Ambush in Southern Somalia
September 12, 2013 Leave a comment
Omar Hammami (right) with Mukhtar “Abu Mansur” Robow, a dissident Al-Shabab leader and member of the Rahanweyn clan group with which Hammami affiliated himself with on his year and a half in hiding from Al-Shabab.
American jihadi Omar “Abu Mansur al-Amriki” Hammami has reportedly been killed in an ambush in southern Somalia carried out by Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen (Movement of the Mujahideen-Youth). Hiding in the forests of the Bay and Bakool region of Somalia, Hammami fell out publicly with Al-Shabab in March 2012 over issues of “strategy and shari’a [Islamic law.]” Hammami’s killing comes in the midst of growing internal strife within Al-Shabab related to the leadership (and criticism of it) of the movement’s amir, Ahmed “Mukhtar Abu al-Zubayr” Godane. In late June, reports surfaced that Godane had ordered the assassinations of two senior leaders of Al-Shabab who were also critical of his leadership, Ibrahim al-Afghani and preacher Mu’allim Burhan.
In his last interview, with Voice of America’s Somali language service, Hammami alleged that Godane had abandoned the “principles of our religion [Islam],” which represents a form of takfir or declaration of an individual who claims to be Muslim as a non-Muslim. In his strategic writings and audio recordings, produced both under his nom de guerre “Abu Mansur al-Amriki” and his pen name “Abu Jihad al-Shami,” Hammami argued for a strategy wedded to “pure” Islam (as defined by him), marking a puritanical streak which, as can be seen in his dispute with Al-Shabab, transcended loyalty to any particular militant group.
The Global Jihad (al-Jihad al-‘Alami) is currently eulogizing Hammami and a British militant who was also killed with a banner at the top of its main page. The banner (below) declares that “the shaykh” Hammami was martyred, using the term istishhad, which can carry a meaning of seeking out martyrdom. The banner includes a quotation from part of verse 156 of Sura al-Baqara in the Qur’an:
Inna li-lahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un (Verily we are from God and to Him we return).
The phrase is used by Muslims for those who have died.