Shabaab leader vows to avenge death of top al Qaeda leader

Sheikh Abu Mukhtar Robow (left) and Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan (faced covered) in a propaganda video acquired by The Long War Journal.

Remember those reports from a few weeks back which claimed that Shabaab was in disarray as Sheikh Abu Mukhtar Robow, the terror group’s deputy leader, split from the group and pulled his forces out of Mogadishu after having an argument over the involvement of foreign fighters in top leadership positions? Back on Oct. 9, here Threat Matrix, we discounted the reports after Robow denied the split. And based on this news from Garowe, that was the correct position to take.

Recently, Robow teamed up with radical Shabaab cleric Ali Mohamad Rage, and they “paraded thousands of trained fighters in the Somali capital.” From Garowe:

In a show of defiance Al-Shabaab has paraded thousands of trained fighters in the Somali capital, Mogadishu to fight against the African Union troops, AMISOM and the Transitional Federal Government soldiers, Radio Garowe Reports.

Senior Al-Shabaab officials, Ali Mohamad Rage commonly referred to us ‘Ali Dere’ and Muktar Robow Ali ‘Abu-Mansor’ claimed the fighters will defend Somali from external invention by AMISOM and the TFG government backed by Ethiopia and international community.

Al-Shabaab alleged the trainees were ready to take part in their quest to free Somali from foreign invention and has urged the public to endorse the fighter.

And, according to Garowe, Robow also vowed to avenge the death of Mustafa Abu Yazid, the former leader of al Qaeda in the Khorasan (Afghanistan and Pakistan) who also served as al Qaeda’s paymaster. Yazid was killed in a US predator air strike in Datta Khel in North Waziristan, Pakistan, in May 2010.

Abu-Mansor [Robow] on the hand emphasized that the fighters will avenge the death of Sheikh Muktar Abu-Yazid who was killed by Americans in Afghanistan.

“Am sending a message to Americans you are enemies of Islam and these fighters are ready to battle you” said Abu-Mansor.

Again, so much for Robow’s distaste with al Qaeda’s foreign influence in Shabaab.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • David says:

    Maybe this is a naive question, but when al Shabaab parades hundreds or thousands of fighters through the
    streets of Mogadishu or whereever, doesn’t it make
    sense to toss a couple of smart bombs/hellfires/grenades into the ranks? Why do we
    let them show off their strength to the population uncontested, when we’re fully capable of making them hide in their holes? If, as bin Laden says, “people will always follow the strong horse”, why let them act like the strong horse?

  • ArneFufkin says:

    @David: I don’t know if this is a mitigating factor in this case, but I know our forces have been hamstrung in the past from the fact that we essentially ceded management of the “Somali Problem” to a rather weak and feckless African Union regime.


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