by Florian Flade
Two days ago a unusual video emerged on Jihadi Internet forums – an American terrorist bases in Somalia fearing for his life threatened by former comrades. “To whom ever it may reach from the Muslims”, Hammami says in the new video message, “I record this message today because I feel my life is in danger by the Harakat Al-Shabaab al-Muhajidin due to some differences that occurred between us regarding the Shariah and the strategy.”
(by the way: the video message seems to have been recorded in the same location Omar Hammami was posing in for some picture he took several weeks ago with a fellow American Jihadist Cabdulaahi Ahmed Faarax from Minneapolis – see picture above)
Omar Hammami, born and raised in the U.S., immigrated to Somalia in 2006 and since then acted as the fighters „Abu Mansoor al-Amrikki“ with the Islamist movement „Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahidin“ (HSM). Hammami was featured in a number of propaganda tapes coming from Somalia urging fellow Muslims in the U.S. to join the Jihad and travel to East Africa. Several young Somali men from the Minneapolis area followed to American Jihadist´s calls and made their way to Somalia.
Why is Omar Hammami who is wanted by the U.S. as an international terrorist, now fearing fellow Islamists could hunt him down and kill him? From what is known about the current situation in Somalia, foreign militants – especially Westerners – are increasingly suspected of being spies by Al-Shabaab. Since foreign fighters from the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Middle East are rushing to Somalia to join the Jihad the number of American drone strikes rose too. And according to some African media reports, there is a division within Al-Shabaab over the question of the foreign Al-Qaida militants.
Numerous militants including Al-Qaida operatives were killed by the CIA drone attacks in the past months. Al-Shabaab therefore reacted nervously, investigating the background information of foreigner coming to join their ranks. According to European intelligence sources some foreign Jihadis have even been executed by Al-Shabaab as alleged spies. Among these victims of the spy-hunt were North Africans, Kenyans and a Somali man from Europe.
Meanwhile Al-Shabaab released a statement about Hammami´s video message and denied the American was in danger of being killed. „Al-Shabaab was surprised about the video attributed to the Brother Abu Mansoor al-Amrikki, which was published on the Internet, and states that the brother Abu Mansoor is afraid that “his life threatened by Al-Mujahidin” according to the published video“, the statement reads.
Further the Somali Jihadi group declares: „Until the investigations are complete about the meaning and motives of this video, Al-Shabaab underscores that everything stated in this video is not true at all, and life of the brother is not threatened by Al-Shabaab.“
So why has Omar Hammami released the disturbing video message that is now causing debate among Online Jihadis?
It is possible that the differences Hammami is talking might be due to his opinion on how Al-Shabaab should expand its Jihad. The more radial elements within the group are promoting the idea to take the fight to neighboring countries like Kenya and Ethiopia. Possible Hammami opposed these plans.