Somali al Qaeda leaders captured in last week’s raid?


Abu Mansur al Amriki (standing, background) at the Abu Suleim camp in Somalia.

Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera has some interesting news on the covert raid conducted by US Special Forces, dubbed Celestial Balance, that targeted an al Qaeda leader in Southern Somalia on Sept. 14th. According to a local stringer for the newspaper, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan was not killed but captured alive. Along with Nabhan, American commandos apprehended Abu Mansur al Amriki, the American convert to Islam who has become a commander in charge of military training for Shabaab.

Amriki can be seen in Shabaab’s latest propaganda videotape, released on Sunday, leading the training of Shabaab fighters at the Abu Suleim camp.

Witnesses in the village of Roboow told the Il Corriere della Sera stringer that both al Qaeda commanders were boarded on helicopters, then they were probably transferred onto US Navy ships stationing at large off the Somali coast. “Capturing the man sent by Osama to set up the Somali insurgency would be a huge success” for the Americans, says the Italian newspaper. But, as Il Corriere repeatedly points out, this news has not been confirmed.

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  • Tyler says:

    I have to think that capturing a high-profile American Al Qaeda operative riding along with one of the world’s most wanted terrorists would have leaked into the American press by now. Especially considering the ongoing investigation into Shabaab recruitment of American citizens and residents.
    If we have him though, its a big coup. I heard a rumor a long ways back he might even be ex-military…one of those Gulf War vets that Saudi Arabia tried to recruit to fight in Bosnia back in the 90s. Just a rumor though.

  • IK says:

    Yuck. I hope we didn’t capture him. If we did:
    The wet noodle (dry would be torture) we’re going to whip him with would produce no info.
    He’d claim he was an innocent man, who just went to Somalia to learn about Islam, or do charity work. And all of Europe and 1/2 of America would believe him.
    A 900 dollar an hour lawyer would provide legal services free of charge, and file a writ demanding that he be let go.
    A judge would demand to see all classified files about this scumbag, then say they were not convinced he was a danger to anyone.
    Special Ops guys would be forced to go to court for the proceedings, where said lawyer would accuse them of mistreatment, torture, and generally being meanies. Then the ACLU would take pictures of them and follow them home, and post the info on jihadist web sites.
    Since we had no warrant to arrest him, and no indictment, plus he wasn’t read Miranda rights, and no lawyer was available to him in the back of the helicopter, the judge would let him go.
    He’d go on a speaking tour of Europe, to big and admiring crowds who would pay to hear his story of being captured and tortured by the evil Americas.
    Finally, he’d make his way back to Somalia to continue being a jihadist.
    So no, I hope a bullet was placed in his brain.

  • kp says:

    I wondered the same when I heard the story of a AH-6 strafing raid then a body pick up. If you are going to risk SF troops you aren’t going to do something a Predator could do. You do stand a better chance to recover laptops and phones without a big bang but then again but then again you don’t want them hit with 50 cal rounds either.
    There were also comments about them having stopped for breakfast. A much better target for a ground strike. If they formed a routine on these movements then I imagine an insert the previous night at the target location with a firefight on the ground then an extract is a more likely scenario.
    I can imagine this is true if the captured people aren’t “US Persons” (citizens or residents). The latter have rights that would need to be honored even if you get to charge him with treason (a very difficult charge in the USA given it’s one mentioned in the Constitution). He would have to be promptly arraigned.
    The other point going against it is the release of that video after the raid. Al Shabaab is unlikely to release a video of a person they know is captured. It doesn’t look good for them.
    I think there’s a chance that AQ and another (Somali? “Foreign fighter”?))were captured alive (perhaps wounded) but I don’t think that other is an American.

  • Edward says:

    The key here is whether AQ knows for sure; uncertainty on their part is better for us.

  • Rhyno327 says:

    As much as i agree with IK, when you put men on the ground its usually a snatch and go. The intel must have been good, i gotta believe they would have heard a Cobra gunship way b/fore we had guys on the ground. Hope they lit ’em up real good after they got thier HVT. We should be doing this in Balochistan, no matter wat that 2 faced swine Kayani says. In for a penny, in for a POUND. BZ SOCOM…


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