American Shabaab commander speaks at rally for Osama bin Laden in Somalia


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Omar Hammami speaks at a rally in Afgoye. Reuters photo.

An American citizen who leads military forces for the al Qaeda-linked Shabaab in Somalia vowed to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden and said a global caliphate will soon be created. Omar Hammami's recent public appearance confirms reports by The Long War Journal that denied he was killed by Somali forces in early March.

Hammami, who is also known as Abu Mansoor al Amriki ("the American"), spoke at a public rally in Afgoye, an area south of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

Hammani is seen with other top Shabaab leaders, including Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansour and Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys. Hammami and the other top Shabaab leaders are seen sitting in the open, unafraid of being targeted by Somali or African Union forces.

"We are all Osama," Hammami told the crowd as he spoke at a podium, according to a translation of the speech, a portion of which was published by National Post. He also said that Shabaab and al Qaeda would continue their jihad to establish a global Islamic caliphate.

"Today, we remind the Muslims that the caliphate [Islamic rule] shall soon be reborn," Hammani said. "May Allah accept our dear beloved sheikh [Osama bin Laden] and cause our swords to become instruments of his avenging."

"We announce to America and to the world that Sheikh Osama bin Laden kindled the fire of jihad decades ago and in effect resistance is now of little value," Hammami continued.

Hammami's appearance in Afgoye has ended all questions of whether he was killed by Somali troops, as had been claimed by Somalia's defense minister on March 8.

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Omar Hammami and Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansour, at the rally in Afgoye.

The Long War Journal reported on March 15 that Hammami had not been killed in recent fighting in Mogadishu. And in early April, Hammami released a nasheed, or Islamic song, on the Al Qimmah Islamic Network, a propaganda outlet for the al Qaeda-linked Shabaab, which mocked reports of his death. On that tape, Hammami said he desired to die in a US strike, like other top al Qaeda leaders.

"Send me a cruise like Maa'lam Adam al Ansari, And send me a couple of tons like Zarqawi, And send me a drone like Abu Laith al Libi, And Special Forces like Saleh Ali Nabhan," the opening chorus of Hammami's clumsy rap-nasheed begins.

Hammami has released similar propaganda in the past. In May 2010, Hammami appeared in another awkward rap-nasheed, titled "First Stop Addis." In that rap, Hammami also claimed he sought to die a martyr.

"My number one goal... die a shaheed," or martyr, he repeated constantly in his May 2010 rap.

Background on Omar Hammami

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 a 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. In the tape, Hammami and others identify their enemy as the "salib," or crusaders.

In February this year, 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 on March 7 that Shabaab "is on the verge of collapse" after the terror group was 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 lost more than 500 fighters during the offensive. But the African Union has suppressed information about heavy casualties to its own forces. On Mar. 4, it was reported that 53 African Union troops had been killed during the fighting. Although no estimates on the number of Somali troops killed have been released, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal that Somali forces have suffered heavy casualties during the current fighting.



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READER COMMENTS: "American Shabaab commander speaks at rally for Osama bin Laden in Somalia"

Posted by James at May 12, 2011 11:06 AM ET:

This guy's raps are terrible! Goodness...

Posted by gerald l flowers at May 12, 2011 6:05 PM ET:

These guys are delusional! The Caliphate will not be restored no matter how many people they kill. Mankind has a tendency to move forward not backward. And the idea of unitary theocracy is an concept that History has long passed by.

Posted by Paul at May 12, 2011 7:05 PM ET:

Don't we have intelligence that these guys are in public at any given moment? We should have drones take these mutts out whenever they stick their dirty heads out in public.

Posted by g at May 12, 2011 8:03 PM ET:

These guys confuse me. If they wish to be killed by a drone or special forces attack, why are they seeking revenge? Shouldn't they be thanking us for granting their wishes and letting us know where they are so we can oblige some more?

Posted by Paul at May 12, 2011 11:31 PM ET:

I thought rap and form of entertainment is against Islam? What hypocrites!

Posted by sports at May 13, 2011 8:06 AM ET:


"We announce to America and to the world that Sheikh Osama bin Laden kindled the fire of jihad decades ago and in effect resistance is now of little value," Hammami continued.

I'm shaking in my boots dude!

Posted by Graham at May 13, 2011 11:53 AM ET:

What an insect!!!

Posted by Michelle at May 13, 2011 10:03 PM ET:

It's amazing how old and evil he looks. He's only in his mid twenties yet has the sunken eyes of a man twice his age. Or someone on drugs. Just like Osama seemed like an 80 year old at 54. I guess mass murder and hate aren't the fountains of youth one would think it is....

Posted by Soccer at May 14, 2011 10:54 PM ET:

I hate to sound discriminatory, but Paul, many Muslims these days ARE hypocrites. They condemn us for talking to girls, using technology, drinking alcohol, smoking, listening to music, etc. when many of them do the EXACT SAME THING, sometimes even worse.

This is from my personal observation and experience with Muslims. Most of them like to have their cake and eat it too, and it bothers me, considering they are condemning the very thing that THEY are..... hypocrisy and blatant double-speak tend to get on my nerves sometimes.

Posted by tunde at May 15, 2011 8:00 AM ET:

whilst we're all basking in the intel victory that is the osama raid, how is it that the top canine in the shabaab dog pack can have a 'media day' in which even Al-Jazeera seems to be present, and we don't have drones tracking him back to his 'base' for immediate 'liquidation' (as Putin would say) ? There's a JSOC base in Djibouti from what i understand. ie ideally placed for ops in Yemen and Somaliland.
what is increasingly clear is that, with UBL buried, the different AQ franchises will be competing for being the vanguard of the global jihad. thus this guys pretense at rap. the upside is that hopefully it'll mean a return to the peshawar days, where different factions started taking each other out with car bombings and the like post soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. so hopefully lots of intel opportunity.
no disrespect to those that lost their lives, but the khost COP bombing feels like a long time ago now.

Posted by Neonmeat at May 16, 2011 6:53 AM ET:

Personally I believe if this guy had been in Afghan/Pak area rather than Somalia he would have been targetted and killed by drones long ago. The AU forces in the area have no where near the capability to target and take out enemies that the ISAF has.

Really I think he's a coward who has chosen a weak area to go and fight in, he's not fighting 'The Great Satan' (America to me and you!)in Somalia is he, no he's fighting a logistically and strategically weaker force. If he longs for death so much why not travel to Afghan/Pak area or Chechnya perhaps and see how long he lasts.

I hope this guy gets taken out soon. lets grant his wish. And much respect to the AU and other forces fighting Shabaab in this area, I do not mean to sound like I am putting their efforts or sacrifices down only that they simply do not have to amount of money to spend militarily that the other allies do.