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article imageSomalia's Al-Shabab names new leader mounts revenge attacks

By Ken Hanly     Sep 8, 2014 in Politics
Mogadishu - A US drone strike recently killed Al-Shabab leader Ahmed Godane. The group has threatened revenge strikes in retaliation. The group lost no time in naming a new leader Ahmad Umar to replace Godane.
Somali authorities have placed the country on high alert in preparation for possible attacks by Al-Shabab. Little is known about the new leader. An Al-Shabab commander said the decision to name him as leader was unanimous. The announcement of the new leader happened only a few minutes after the group confirmed that Godane had been killed.
Al-Shabab issued a warning statement: "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 Allah, you will surely taste the bitter consequences of your actions."
The Somali National Security Minister Kalif Ereg claimed: "Security agencies have obtained information indicating that al-Shabab is now planning to carry out desperate attacks against medical facilities, education centres and other government facilities.The security forces are ready to counter their attacks and we call on people to help the security forces in standing against violent acts." Godane was made leader of Al_Shabab after a US drone strike had killed his predecessor in 2008.
The president of Somalia Sheikh Mohamud announced a 45-day amnesty for any militants who renounced membership in Al-Shabab. The US had placed a bounty of $7 million dollars on Godane. The US has supported the African Union force that has managed to drive Al-Shabab out of the capital Mogadishu and a number of other towns since an offensive in 2011. However, Al-Shabab itself mounts frequent attacks on government facilities in Mogadishu and even in neighboring countries that have provided troops to attack them in Somalia.
The most sensational attack was on the Westgate mall in Nairobi Kenya on September 21, 2013. The attack resulted in 67 killed including the 4 gunmen and more than 175 wounded. Godane had claimed Al-Shabab's responsibility for that attack.
The US drone strike is part of Operation Indian Ocean that began last July. Somali and African Union troops with support from drone strikes launched an offensive aimed at retaking towns and villages now under control of Al Shabab. Ten other militants were claimed to have been killed in the drone strike, including an operations leader, a financial official, and a military strategist according to a US security official.
Revenge attacks have already started with attacks on two convoys killing at least 12. There are reports that Americans were part of the convoy. A recent video report is appended.
More about Ahmed Abdi Godane, Ahmad Umar, Alshabab, Somalia
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