A previously unidentified American who fights in the ranks of Shabaab, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia, appeared on a videotape and urged Muslims to join one of the numerous fronts of the global jihad.
The American, who is identified as Abu Ahmed al Amriki, is seen on a videotape that was produced by Shabaab’s media arm and posted on jihadist Internet forums on Feb. 25. The video was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
Abu Ahmed speaks in both English and Arabic, and appears with two Kenyan jihadists, who are identified as Abu Seyf al Kenyi and Abu Khaled al Kenyi. Abu Ahmed’s face is digitally blurred in the video. He is seen seated with a group of armed fighters; he is also holding a rifle as he speaks.
In his speech, Abu Ahmed implores Muslims to leave their lives of comfort and wage jihad in Somalia, Mali, Afghanistan, Iraq, or the “Islamic Maghreb” — North Africa.
“Brothers and sisters, I won’t take much of your time, but it’s obligatory upon you to leave the lands of [disbelief] and [emigrate]. The fronts, they are all open, whether it’s here in Somalia, whether it’s in Mali, whether it’s in Afghanistan, whether it’s in Iraq, or whether it’s in the Islamic Maghreb – it’s all open,” Abu Ahmed says, according to the transcript provided by the SITE Intelligence Group.
He urges Muslims who cannot “emigrate” to “fight the enemies of Allah where you find them ….”
Abu Ahmed claims that the West is losing the war against al Qaeda and its allies, and that a global caliphate will soon arise.
“Victory is coming. Your brothers are gaining strength after strength, victory after victory. The defeat of the [disbelievers] is near,” he says.
“America is going down and the Caliphate is rising,” he claims.
Abu Ahmed is one of the “Muhajireen” — the emigrants or foreign fighters who wage jihad in Somalia alongside Shabaab.
Omar Hammami, the American who is better known as Abu Mansour al Amriki, is the most well-known foreign fighter in Somalia. He is feuding with Shabaab, and claims that foreigner fighters are at odds with Shabaab’s leaders. Shabaab has disputed the claims, and has countered that Hammami is a narcissistic self-promoter who has taken advantage of his high-profile media presence to sow dissent between the Somali group and foreign fighters. Other than Hammami’s claims, there is little evidence to support the assertion that there is a split between Shabaab and the Muhajireen.
Two other prominent Americans waging jihad in Somalia are Abu Abdullah al Muhajir, who is Ayman al Zawahiri’s emissary to Shabaab, and Cabdulaahi Ahmed Faarax.
An estimated 50 Somali-Americans are thought to have been recruited in the US to train and fight with Shabaab. At least two Americans have carried out suicide attacks in Somalia, and Shabaab claimed that two other Americans have carried out such attacks.
For more information on Americans and foreigners who are fighting for Shabaab, see LWJ report, American Shabaab fighter and commander pictured together. For more information on Shabaab’s links to al Qaeda, see LWJ reports, Somalia’s Shabaab vows allegiance to new al Qaeda emir Zawahiri, and Al Qaeda leaders play significant role in Shabaab.