Al-Shabaab vowed to punish the United States after the strikes that killed leader Ahmed Godane last Labor Day, and in an Eid message the Somali terror group vowed “the operations of the Mujahideen are on a steady increase both in quantity and diversity.”
The White House hailed Godane’s death as “a major symbolic and operational loss to the largest al-Qaeda affiliate in Africa.”
Ahmad Umar Abu Ubaidah, aka Ahmed Diriye, a longtime senior adviser to Godane and former primary school Quran teacher, quickly stepped into the role of leading Al-Shabaab.
And it’s been a bloody year for the terror group, which stunned the globe with its 2013 Westgate mall attack in Nairobi.
In January, the FBI added Beltway cabbie Liban Haji Mohamed, an Al-Shabaab recruiter in the U.S., to its Most Wanted Terrorists list. In February, the Obama administration unveiled its “strategic patience” national security strategy only referred to “violent extremists fighting governments in Somalia, Nigeria, and across the Sahel.” Al-Shabaab then released a slick video threatening U.S. sites including the Mall of America.
In March, Boko Haram in Nigeria pledged allegiance to ISIS, but disagreements within Al-Shabaab about breaking with its al-Qaeda alliance have kept the Somali group from doing the same. After one Al-Shabaab cleric declared ISIS to be the legitimate caliphate, the State Department without explanation temporarily closed its Djibouti embassy.
In April, Al-Shabaab slaughtered 147 at Garissa University College in Kenya. In May, Secretary of State John Kerry became the first in his position to visit Somalia, but didn’t leave the airport. Al-Shabaab posted a June video showing white recruits conducting attacks in Kenya.
In his Eid message, Umar said his group’s “swords actively and effectively strike the necks of the disbelievers on a daily basis throughout the country and their raids remain constant.”
He told Muslims in Kenya “your brothers will not cease in assisting you Insha-Allaah nor will they delay in targeting anyone who violates your religion or your honour.”
“By the permission of Allaah, your brothers will continue their operations until your land in its entirety is liberated from the rule of the disbelievers. O’ Muslims of Kenya, know that there is no solution to the oppression and humiliation you are going through except Jihad in the path of Allaah, therefore, hasten and join the caravans of Jihad. Hurry and travel to the battlefields of Jihad and prepare yourselves so as to liberate your lands from the crusader forces. Aid the Mujahideen with all that your capable of so that Allaah may alleviate your suffering and burden.”
Kenya is more than 82 percent Christian, according to CIA statistics.
Umar congratulated all who conducted the “blessed” university attack. “Indeed, the age in which the disbelievers used to perpetrate their crimes without being held to account has passed,” he said. “…Keep up the good work and continue slaying the crusaders and purifying the Muslim lands from their filth… hasten your salvation from the cruelty of the evil Christians.”
“By the permission of Allaah, we will neither deviate nor change. We will continue to march forth governing with the Shari’ah of Allaah, fighting in the path of our Lord and defending our oppressed Muslim brothers until Allaah judges between us and the disbelievers.”