Somali al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabaab quickly promoted a new leader for the organization and vowed retaliation for the “American Crusaders’ aerial bombardment” that killed Ahmed Godane on Labor Day.
The White House confirmed Godane’s death yesterday, calling his “removal… a major symbolic and operational loss to the largest al-Qaida affiliate in Africa.”
Al-Shabaab confirmed Godane’s “martyrdom” in a slick, six-page statement that offered “congratulations” on the martyrdom and heralded the late leader for his “patience and steadfastness.”
“We hereby take the opportunity to advise our Mujahideen brothers and the courageous tribes of Somalia to fulfil their obligation to the utmost of their means so as to repulse the malicious onslaught of the Crusaders against the Islamic Wilaayaat and the oppressive American and Western aggression on our lands. We advise them to take a unified stand against the Crusaders just as they are fighting us regardless of their religious, ideological and political differences; for defending the religion of Islam is a trust binding upon your necks,” said the English-language statement.
“So sacrifice your lives for that which your leaders have sacrificed their lives for and avenge their deaths. Defend your religion and your honour, for waging Jihad against the Americans, their crusader allies and the treacherous apostate agents is the most binding of individual obligations. Beware of allowing the disbelievers any sense of enjoyment and safety as long as your hearts beat and your eyes blink.”
Al-Shabaab vowed to “not delay in punishing those who have perpetrated such heinous massacres,” and promised that the terror group would “only grow in strength and ferocity” after Godane’s death.
“Our Jihad will not be affected in the least by the martyrdom of our Shaykhs and if Jihad were to end with the death of an individual,” it would have been derailed by the deaths of Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zaqawi and others, the statement continued.
“We also reassure you that the Shaykh has left behind a group of men that reject oppression and refuse for their religion to be humiliated. They are men who will neither rest nor settle down until they govern all the corners of the earth with the Shari’ah of Allaah, deliver justice, spread fair council, unify Muslims upon the kalima of Tawheed and purify the lands of Islam from the filth of the crusaders and their apostate allies.”
Godane’s successor is Ahmad Umar Abu Ubaidah, aka Ahmed Diriye, a longtime senior adviser to Godane and former primary school Quran teacher.
Al-Shabaab also “renews its pledge of allegiance” to al-Qaeda, with whom it allied in 2012, and leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
“Indeed, a vibrant and glorious dawn is today imminently approaching on the horizon of the Muslim Ummah after the growth, refinement and maturity of the Jihad across the entire Islamic world. The ruthless and oppressive onslaughts by the Crusaders, Zionists and Raafidha in our lands and the lands of Palestine, Iraq, Shaam [the Levant], Afghanistan, the Arabian Peninsula, the Islamic Maghreb, Chechnya and elsewhere has only further inflamed the passion for Jihad in the hearts of the Muslim youth across the globe,” the statement says. “Similarly, the many sacrifices, unyielding fortitude, robust eemaan, and the daring manner in which the Mujahideen confronted the vicious campaign of the enemies have increased the intensity, purity and clarity of Jihad.”
It ends with a message to the “enemies of Allaah”: “Expect only that which will cause you great distress and be prepared to reap the fruits of your recklessness and folly. Avenging the death of our scholars and leaders is a binding obligation on our shoulders that we will never relinquish nor forget no matter how long it takes. By the permission of Allaah, you will surely taste the bitter consequences of your actions.”
Al-Shabaab’s attacks include last year’s brutal assault on the Westgate mall in Nairobi.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) stressed in a Friday statement that despite Godane’s killing dealing a “serious blow” to the terror group, “we must keep a close watch on al-Shabaab, offering support to the African allies fighting these terrorists, as the group looks to adapt to this loss.”
“The rapid growth of al Qaeda-inspired affiliates like al-Shabab throughout the Middle East and Africa represents a grave danger to the U.S. and our allies and we must have a comprehensive strategy to eliminate these threats,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said.
While in the U.S. last month for the African leaders summit in D.C., Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud flew to Minnesota to urge Somali-Americans to not fundraise, support or be recruited by Al-Shabaab.
“Somalis in Minnesota, you should also play your part,” Mohamud told the crowd, according to MPR News. “The enemy that is in [Somalia] is also in here. Keep your children safe.”