1 The Long War Journal: Shabaab commander Omar Hammami reported killed in Somalia
Written by Bill Roggio on March 8, 2011 11:26 AM to 1 The Long War Journal
Available online at: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/03/shabaab_commander_om.php
Omar Hammami, who is also known as Abu Mansoor al Amriki.
An American citizen who holds a senior military leadership position in Shabaab, al Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia, is thought to have been killed during the recent fighting in the warn-torn country.
Omar Hammami, the American citizen who is a commander in Shabaab and who is better known as Abu Mansour al Amriki, may have been killed during the heavy fighting in Mogadishu and the surrounding areas, Somalia's defense minister told The Associated Press.
The defense minister said the report is unconfirmed but intelligence reports indicate he was killed.
Shabaab has not released a statement announcing his death. US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal said they were aware of the reports but could not confirm Hammami's status.
Hammami is a US citizen from Alabama who converted to Islam and then traveled to Somalia in 2006. Once in Somalia, he quickly rose through the ranks, and now serves as a military commander. He is one of the many foreign commanders who hold senior leadership positions in Shabaab, which is al Qaeda's affiliate in East Africa. Hammami is one of 14 people indicted by the US Justice Department in August 2010 for providing material support to Shabaab.
Hammami also began appearing in Shabaab propaganda tapes. In one tape, released in May 2010, Hammami stressed that Shabaab's war is not confined to Somalia but is global in nature. "From Somalia and Shiishaan (Chechnya), from Iraq and Afghanistan, gonna meet up in the Holy Lands, establishing Allah's Law on the land," Hammami says in a chorus repeated throughout the song. Hammami and others identify their enemy as the "salib," or crusaders.
Two weeks ago, the Somali government, backed by Ugandan and Burundian forces in the African Union, as well as Ethiopia, launched an offensive against Shabaab. Somalia's President, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, claimed yesterday that Shabaab "is on the verge of collapse" after the terror group has been driven out of several strongholds in the capital of Mogadishu as well as in the Gedo region on the Kenyan border.
The government claimed that Shabaab has lost more than 500 fighters during the offensive. But the African Union has suppressed information about heavy casualties to its own forces. Last week, it was reported that 53 African Union troops were killed during the fighting. No estimates on the number of Somali troops killed have been released.