India’s press has suggested that a Pakistani jihadist operating from Somalia since 2010 might have planned or aided the terrorist assault on the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi.
The Pakistani man is identified by the PTI Press Agency as Abu Musa Mombasa and is reported to be Al Shabaab’s “chief of security and training” officer and alleged to have held that post alongside other foreign jihadists within the Somali extremist group.
He was allegedly loaned to Al Shabaab after it forged links with Al Qaeda from 2008. It is not clear whether Mombasa is the Pakistani’s real name or if he acquired it as a nom de guerre after staying in Mombasa.
The report linking him to terrorism in Somalia refers to a 2010 story in the Long War Journal by terrorism specialist Bill Roggio, disclosing the Pakistani’s alleged exploits within Al Shabaab.
“A Pakistani-origin man is believed to be the security and training chief of the Al-Qaeda linked Shabaab group that carried out the horrific attack at an upscale Kenyan mall killing at least 59 people,” say several Indian publications in their online editions quoting PTI.
In the journal article Mombasa is named as a leading foreign jihadist in Al Shabaab alongside Shaykh Muhammad Abu Fa’id, also known as Fua’d Mohamed Khalaf, a Saudi citizen who is allegedly a leading Al-Shabaab financier and Abu Sulayman Al Banadiri of Yemeni descent, who is identified as an adviser.
Also named is Abu Mansour al Amriki, an American convert to Islam who went to Somalia in 2006 and was, reportedly killed in Somalia after falling out with Al Shabaab’s high command.
The journal also named Sudanese national Mahmud Mujajir as Al Shabaab’s key recruiter of suicide bombers. PTI raises the possibility that Abu Musa could be behind the attack in Nairobi because he has guided Al Shabaab’s operations since 2010. Intelligence officials in Mombasa have declined to comment on this name but sources within militant circles told The Standard a foreigner with this name is a well-known within jihadist circles in East Africa.
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