March 19, 2012 Special Dispatch No. 4589

American Al-Shabab Commander 'Omar Hammami Says His Life Is Endangered By Al-Shabab Due To Differences Over 'Shari'a' And 'Strategic' Matters; Al-Shabab Issues Denial, Promises to Investigate

March 19, 2012
Africa, Somalia | Special Dispatch No. 4589

On March 16, 2012, in a rather bizarre and very brief (one minute) appearance, American commander of the Somali Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen 'Omar Hammami (aka Abu Mansour Al-Amriki) stated that that his life may be threatened by the organization over what he calls "differences... concerning matters of shari'a and matters of strategy." The message was released on YouTube, on the channel belonging to someone named "somalimuhajirwarrior." Hammami delivered his message first in Arabic and then in English.

The next day, Al-Shabab responded to Hammami's video clip, with a Twitter statement utterly denying Hammami's claim and stressing that the organization posed no threat to his life. It added that it intended to investigate the matter.

Also on March 17, a Kenyan Islamist group, the Muslim Youth Centre (MYC), which is a supporter of Al-Shabab, issued several messages on its Twitter account that appeared to be a response to Hammami's video. While not mentioning Hammami, they referred to "rumours or facts of Al-Shabab's disunity among senior members" and called on "our brothers in Al-Shabab to demonstrate unity of purpose" by carrying out more attacks such as the March 14 suicide bombing at the presidential palace compound in Mogadishu that killed four people....

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