US drone strike kills ‘senior Shabaab leader’ in Somalia

Militants of Al-Shabaab train with weapons on a street in the outskirts of Mogadishu, November 4, 2008. The US Defence ministry said a drone strike had killed an Al-Shabaab fighter Abdirahman Sandhere, also known as ‘Ukash’, who it described as “a senior leader” of the group. PHOTO | MOWLID ABDI |

What you need to know:

  • US Defence ministry said a drone strike had killed an Al-Shabaab fighter Abdirahman Sandhere, also known as ‘Ukash’, who it described as “a senior leader” of the group.
  • A US citizen fighting with Al-Qaeda’s East Africa branch in Somalia has surrendered, officials said yesterday, a month after another American jihadist gave himself up.
  • Malik Abdiwahab, thought to be from San Diego and also given the name Jones in some media reports, surrendered to African Union and Somali forces close to the port town of Barawe in southern Somalia on Monday morning.

MOGADISHU, Tuesday

US Defence ministry said a drone strike had killed an Al-Shabaab fighter Abdirahman Sandhere, also known as ‘Ukash’, who it described as “a senior leader” of the group.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook claimed the December 2, killing as “a significant blow” to the group.

Local officials in Somalia said they had never heard of Sandhere. One source said: “The government had no idea about him existing before the Americans announced they had killed someone with that name.”

SURRENDERED

At the same time, a US citizen fighting with Al-Qaeda’s East Africa branch in Somalia has surrendered, officials said yesterday, a month after another American jihadist gave himself up.

Malik Abdiwahab, thought to be from San Diego and also given the name Jones in some media reports, surrendered to African Union and Somali forces close to the port town of Barawe in southern Somalia on Monday morning.

“The man has defected from Al-Shabaab after they tried to kill him due to differences,” said Hussein Mohamed, the local district commissioner, who described Abdiwahab as an “Afro-American middle aged man”.

“He told us that he fled for his life after an argument with his colleagues. They disagreed over ideology,” said Mohamed.

Al-Shabaab is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu and has expanded its operations into neighbouring countries.

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