Sheikh Ahmad Iman Ali, the leader of Shabaab’s branch in Kenya, from a videotape released on Jan. 6. Image from the SITE Intelligence Group.
The Muslim Youth Center (MYC), an al Qaeda affiliate in East Africa and Shabaab ally, released a statement today on its blog as well as on Twitter that addresses the imminent assault on Kismayo by Kenyan and Somali forces. The combined Somali and Kenyan forces have been slowly advancing on the southern port city, and have taken Jana Cabdalla, a town just 25 miles from Kismayo. A Kenyan military officer claimed that more than 50 Shabaab fighters were killed during clashes in Jana Cabdalla.
In the Muslim Youth Center’s defiant announcement [reproduced in full below], the group said it would sent reinforcements to the city and claimed they would fight to the end. The MYC said its leader, Amir Sheikh Ahmad Iman Ali, “rejects any [reconciliation] offer from the unbelievers and their apostate allies in Somalia,” and implored its “brothers and sisters from Majengo (Nairobi), Thika, Nyeri and Mombasa and our Tanzanians mujahideen” to not give up the fight.
The MYC also said its ultimate goal is to raise “the flag of Tawheed high over Kenya and East Africa” (the statement is reminiscent Shabaab leader Hassan Dahir Aweys’ call for a “Greater Somalia” in East Africa in 2006 and spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage’s call for al Qaeda to flock to Somalia to “expand the East Africa jihad”).
Most importantly, the MYC threatened to conduct attacks throughout the region (the group notes at the outset that it has branches in “Somalia, Tanzania, and Kenya”).
“MYC in Kenya and our mujahideen brothers in the region are preparing for any eventualities that may transpire in Kismayo, and with the grace of Allah respond accordingly and decisively,” the statement said.
Ironically, the MYC said that “the time of public warnings via twitter or other social media is now a thing of the past,” even as it made the announcement on a blog and Twitter.
The MYC was likely involved in a failed suicide attack that was foiled on Sept. 14. The two suicide bombers who were detained in Nairobi had been ordered to conduct their attack by Jafra Hussein, a Shabaab leader from Kismayo. Abdimajid Yassin and Ali Hussein, the Somali suicide bombers, met up with Musa Shukri, a Shabaab logistics officer in Kenya, and Ahmed Abdurahman.
The MYC statement in full:
MYC in Somalia, Tanzania and Kenya has been following with amusement the numerous media reports attributed to KDF and AMISOM propaganda officials that KDF will soon as part its final phase of “Operation Linda Nchi” enter Kismayo to military cleanse Muslims, and that it is offering amnesty to the mujahideen of MYC.
At this critical juncture, MYC under its leadership of Amir Sheikh Ahmad Iman Ali rejects any offer from the unbelievers and their apostate allies in Somalia. Such an offer by KDF reflects not only arrogance but also sheer ignorance of why many young Kenyans under the charismatic leadership of Sheikh Ahmad Iman Ali (May Allah preserve for the mujahideen) decided to embark on hijra to Somalia to support our mujahideen brothers in Al-Shabaab. If as KDF has been indicating, they intend to advance on Kismayo with a view of murdering and raping Muslims, we remind them on behalf of Al-Shabaab that it is never too late to retreat back into Kenya and deal with Kenya’s internal problems that are increasing spiraling out of control.
However, if KDF and AMISOM do insist on unleashing its army on innocent Muslim women and children in Kismayo as part its religious cleansing operation, MYC will dutifully assume its responsibility: first as Muslims and second as part of our pledge of allegiance to Amir Sheikh Abu Zubeyr through Amir Ahmad Iman Ali’s public declaration earlier this year. In this context, MYC in Kenya and our mujahideen brothers in the region are preparing for any eventualities that may transpire in Kismayo, and with the grace of Allah respond accordingly and decisively. The time of public warnings via twitter or other social media is now a thing of the past. The die seems to have been cast by KDF and AMISOM, and now the unbelievers must be accountable for their intended actions.
As it appears that we are now entering our reinforcement phase as part of Al-Shabaab, MYC reminds the mujahideen of Kenya and the mujahideen throughout the region that the unbeliever has continued to test our honour as Muslims, and it now falls to MYC and like-minded mujahideen groups to reclaim that honour as a prerequisite to raising the flag of Tawheed high over Kenya and East Africa.
We also ask Muslims to remember our brothers and sisters from Majengo (Nairobi), Thika, Nyeri and Mombasa and our Tanzanians mujahideen who are currently preparing with great enthusiasm to engage the unbelievers in Kismayo should they fulfill on their threat against the innocent Muslims in Kismayo. We ask that Allah makes them victorious and secures them the highest place in Jannah.