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Ahmed Abdi Godane
Born (1977-07-10)10 July 1977
Hargeisa, Somalia
Died 1 September 2014(2014-09-01) (aged 37)
Hawaay, Somalia
Nationality Somalia
Ethnicity Somali
Occupation Radical jihadi, terrorist, veteran of the Afghan Jihad
Title Emir (leader) of al-Shabaab[1]

Ahmed Abdi Godane (Somali language: Axmed Cabi Godane , Arabic language: أحمد عبدي جودان‎), also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubair,[2] was the Emir (leader) of al-Shabaab, an Islamist group based in Somalia with ties to Al Qaeda. Godane, who received training and fought in Afghanistan, was designated by the United States as a terrorist.[3] He succeeded Mukhtar Robow who had held the position for several months after Aden Ayro's death.[4] He was killed in a U.S. drone strike on 1 September 2014 in southern Somalia.[5]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Ahmed Abdi Godane was born in Hargeisa, Somalia on 10 July 1977.[6] He hailed from the Isaaq clan[7] of north Somalia,[8] like Ibrahim "al-Afghani" who was another key leader in Al-Shabaab before his killing by Godane loyalists in June 2013.[3] He studied Quran in Hargeisa and won scholarships to study in Sudan and Pakistan. He led a quiet, pious life, and reportedly wrote poetry.[9]

Godane was a veteran of the Afghan Jihad.[6] While in the Somaliland region of Somalia, Godane had worked for Al-Barakat, a Somali remittance company and the local franchise of Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya (AIAI).[7] Godane was accused of involvement in the murder of a British couple, Dick and Enid Eyeington, who ran a school in the region.[9]

Islamic Courts Union[edit | edit source]

In 2006, Godane became the secretary general of the Executive Council of the Islamic Courts Union, an organization which was then lead by Sharif Ahmed who is the previous President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia.[7]

Al-Qaeda[edit | edit source]

In September 2009 Godane appeared in an Al-Shabaab video where he offered his services to Bin Laden.[10] The video appeared to be a response to a Bin Laden from March 2009 in which he urged the Somalis to overthrow the newly elected President of Somalia Sharif Ahmed.[11] In January 2010, Godane, speaking on behalf of Al-Shabaab, released a statement reiterating his support for Al-Qaeda and stated that they had "agreed to join the international jihad of al Qaeda".[12] For his allegiance to Al-Qaeda, the U.S. government announced a $7 million bounty for information leading to Godane's capture.[9]

Tensions within Al-Shabaab[edit | edit source]

Godane and his close friend Ibrahim Haji Jama Mee'aad (aka Ibrahim Al-Afghani) both rose to prominence within Al-Shabaab at the same time but, despite their close relationship, the two men had widely divergent views on what the future of Al-Shabaab should be. This resulted in tensions within the organization and the alienation of many of Godane's oldest friends as it became apparent that Godane's agenda was transnational.[13]

Death[edit | edit source]

In August 2014, the Somali government-led Operation Indian Ocean was launched to cleanup the remaining insurgent-held pockets in the countryside.[14] On 1 September 2014, a U.S. drone strike carried out as part of the broader mission killed Al-Shabaab leader Godane.[15] U.S. authorities hailed the raid as a major symbolic and operational loss for Al-Shabaab, and the Somali government offered a 45-day amnesty to all moderate members of the militant group. Political analysts also suggested that the insurgent commander's death will likely lead to Al-Shabaab's fragmentation and eventual dissolution.[16]

On 2 September 2014, al-Shabaab confirmed that Godane was travelling in one of two vehicles hit by a U.S. AGM-114 Hellfire missile strike the previous day. It was not immediately confirmed if Godane himself was among the six militants killed. The vehicles were heading toward the coastal town of Barawe, al-Shabaab's main base.[17] On 5 September 2014, the Pentagon confirmed during the 2014 NATO summit in Wales that Godane had been killed in the attack.[18][18][19] On 6 September 2014, al-Shabaab officially confirmed Godane's death and announced Ahmad Umar as his successor.[5][20]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Q&A: Somalia's conflict". BBC News. 4 October 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10524929. 
  2. "Ahmed Abdi Godane: Somalia's killed al-Shabab leader". BBC News. 9 September 2014. http://m.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29034409. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4d2d99562.html
  4. "Somalia: Harakat Al-Shabab Mujahideen Leader Calls for Government Soldiers to Hand Over Their Weapon With in Five Days". Mauritius: allAfrica.com. 6 July 2010. http://allafrica.com/stories/200907061554.html. Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Shebab's new leader a devout, ruthless hardliner". Agence France-Presse. 7 September 2014. http://news.yahoo.com/shebabs-leader-devout-ruthless-hardliner-sources-105730104.html;_ylt=AwrBEiSgiwxUUkoAbqrQtDMD. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2010/sc9904.doc.htm
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Hoehne, Markus Virgil. "Counter-terrorism in Somalia: How external interference helped to produce militant Islamism". Halle: Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. p. 15. http://webarchive.ssrc.org/Somalia_Hoehne_v10.pdf. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  8. Profile, wardheernews.com; retrieved 5 September 2014.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 McConnell, Tristan (1 October 2013). "Who is Al Shabaab leader Ahmed Godane?". GlobalPost. http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/kenya/131001/who-al-shabaab-leader-ahmed-godane. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  10. Profile, fas.org; retrieved 5 September 2014.
  11. Profile, Voice of America; retrieved 5 September 2014.
  12. "Somali rebels unite, profess loyalty to al Qaeda". 1 February 2010. http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/02/01/us-somalia-conflict-idUSTRE6102Q720100201. 
  13. Profile, Human Rights Watch; retrieved 5 September 2014.
  14. "SOMALIA: President says Godane is dead, now is the chance for the members of al-Shabaab to embrace peace". 5 September 2014. http://www.raxanreeb.com/2014/09/somalia-president-says-godane-is-dead-now-is-the-chance-for-the-members-of-al-shabaab-to-embrace-peace/. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  15. "Pentagon Confirms Death of Somalia Terror Leader". 5 September 2014. http://www.garoweonline.com/page/show/post/292/pentagon-confirms-death-of-somalia-terror-leader. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  16. "US confirms death of Somalia terror group leader". 5 September 2014. http://www.wsvn.com/story/26458182/pentagon-confirms-death-of-somalia-terror-leader. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  17. "Al-Shabaab in Somalia confirms leader was targeted in US drone strike". http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/02/al-shabaab-confirms-leader-targeted-us-drone-strike-somalia. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Leader of Qaeda-Linked Somali Group Is Dead, U.S. Says". The New York Times. 5 September 2014. http://www.webcitation.org/5zelKVuDn. Retrieved 5 September 2014. 
  19. Martinez, Michael (5 September 2014). "Top Somali militant killed in U.S. operation, Pentagon says". CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/05/world/africa/somali-militant-killed/index.html. Retrieved 5 September 2014. 
  20. http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/09/shabaab_names_new_em.php

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