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10 octobre 2013 4 10 /10 /octobre /2013 07:45
Profile: Al-Shabab's 'Ikrima'

8 October 2013 BBC Africa


The US has said a raid it launched on 5 October in Somalia targeted a leader in the Islamist militia al-Shabab called known as Abdukadir Mohamed Abdukadir, alias Ikrima.


Until the raid, which failed to capture him, even seasoned observers of Somalia's conflict had not heard of Ikrima.


He is thought to be a Kenyan citizen of Somali origin, one of many Kenyan Somalis and other foreign fighters who have joined the militia.


Residents of Barawe, the town where the raid took place, say Ikrima is a leader in the militia with responsibility for logistics.


He is usually accompanied by about 20 well-armed guards, they say.


As a Kenyan-Somali, he is believed to speak Kiswahili better than Somali, and as such would be able to move freely in both countries.


Like many Islamist militants, he is also likely to speak Arabic - some Barawe residents say they initially thought he was from Libya.


"Ikrima represents an interesting crossover between al-Hijra and al-Shabab, as a Kenyan who can mingle among both the Somalis and the foreign fighters," analyst Matt Bryden told the Washington Post.


The Kenyan-based al-Hijra group, also known as the Muslim Youth Centre, is viewed as a close ally of al-Shabab.


Although his name was not well known until Saturday's raid, he was mentioned in a Kenyan intelligence report last year, which was leaked to US media after last month's attack on Nairobi's Westgate shopping centre.


He was named as the lead planner of a plot sanctioned by al-Qaeda's core leadership in Pakistan to carry out multiple attacks in Kenya in late 2011 and early 2012.


Parliament buildings, the UN's office in Nairobi, as well as Kenyan military camps and an Ethiopian restaurant frequented by members of Somalia's Western-backed transitional government were among the reported targets.


Kenyan authorities say all the plots were foiled.


Pentagon spokesman George Little said Ikrima was also closely associated with Harun Fazul and Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, who he said "played roles" in the 1998 bombing of the United States embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, and in the 2002 attacks on a hotel and airline in Mombassa, Kenya.

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