Shabaab dodges questions on rumor of Hammami’s death

Has Omar Hammami, the American-born Shabaab commander also known as Abu Mansour al Amriki, been executed by the terror group? Rumors of Hammami’s death surfaced a week ago, almost three weeks after he released a video claiming his life is in danger. But no evidence has emerged to confirm or deny the rumor. [The Press Register has a good rundown on the rumor. Full disclosure: I am quoted in the article.]

I have queried Shabaab’s Press Office via its Twitter account, @HSMPress (which stands for Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen Press Office), to see if the group would confirm or deny the rumors. I’ve made five such inquiries: on April 12, April 13, April 14, April 16, and April 18. HSM Press Office has failed to respond each time.

HSM Press Office claims it is open to taking inquiries. In fact, in an HSM Press Office tweet that chided another person on Twitter for believing that Sheikh Muktar Robow had granted an interview with a local Somali news outlet, the Shabaab spokesman claimed that “HSM Press Office is in fact easily reachable through most journalists.”

HSM press office was quick to smack down the bogus Robow interview as well as address the release of Hammami’s video and tell us he is not in any way in danger. Perhaps HSM Press Office should explain why it refuses to answer multiple inquiries about the rumors of Hammami’s execution.

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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