Top Shabaab man dies from injuries

PHOTO | AFP Somalia's Al-Shabaab militant group members outside Mogadishu. US officials offered a Ksh260 million ($3 million) reward Friday for help in capturing three notorious Somali terror suspects.

What you need to know:

  • Thirty Al-Shabaab commanders killed in single raid

An Al-Shabaab spokesman died on Wednesday, nearly two months after he was injured in an air strike by Kenya Defence Forces in Somalia.

Military spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir confirmed the death on his official twitter account saying: “Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Dhere (alias Ali Mohamed Raghe) finally succumbs to last courtesy call injuries! Focus on Al Shabaab leadership targeting continues.”

However, another post on twitter came out later by a man claiming he had spoken to Ali Dhere.

The post replied to Maj Chirchir’s message saying: “The guy you saying is dead just called me! He didn’t sound dead to me.”

It further quoted the Al-Shabaab spokesman to have said: “He (Maj Chirchir) is doing what he always did, lying to his people. I’m well. Very well.”

KDF intensified air strikes targeting top Al-Shabaab commanders after September 21, 2013 terror attack in which gunmen opened fire and hurled grenades at shoppers at the Westgate mall in Nairobi, killing 67 people and injuring 240 others.

Ali Dhere sustained the injuries after the air strike at Birta Dheere area in Somalia on January 10.

The air strike targeted Al-Shabaab overall leader Muktar Abdirahman Godane, but he escaped by a whisker because he left the area a few minutes before Kenya Air Force F-5 jets launched the attack.

Before the strike, Godane was presiding over a meeting of top Al-Shabaab commanders who had gathered to witness the handing over of leadership to a regional chief who was being installed that day.

Military sources said more than 30 senior Al-Shabaab commanders were killed that day including a Kenyan from Garissa identified as Gamadhere, who was responsible for many grenade attacks that have been carried out in Kenya.

Six commanders of different nationalities also died in the strike.

Ali Dheere was the public face of the terrorist group and was last seen in an interview broadcast last month, demanding withdrawal of KDF troops from Somalia and threatening more attacks in Kenya, saying the Westgate massacre was carried out to send a message.

During the interview with Al-Jazeera TV network, he also claimed that Al-Shabaab would regain control of towns that had been liberated by KDF.

He also named Britain as a key enemy for supporting the KDF and urged “young British Muslims” to join the war in Somalia.

The January 10, raid was one of the most significant since Kenyan troops fighting in Somalia began responding to the Westgate massacre.

Al-Shabaab top commander Abdulahi Ali alias Ante Ante, who was directly involved in planning Westgate was killed in a raid in October.