A Kenyan man who was al Shabaab's top commander behind the Garissa University College attack has been killed in a joint operation in Somalia. Mohamed Dulyadayn aka Kuno Gamadhere was one of four militants killed on Tuesday night in Farwamo village near Bulogudud, 30 kilometres north of Kismayo, reports said.
The operation was conducted by the Somalia and foreign forces. Details of the raid are scanty. Somalia media said yesterday the operation was conducted following intelligence reports he was there. This is the second time reports of his death emerge. Last year, there were reports he had been killed in a drone attack but they emerged false. Kenyan security officials said they were waiting for a confirmation on the raid and details including if Kuno had been killed.
"We are equally waiting for more information on the same but all indications are he is dead," said a senior official who asked not to be named.
Inspector General of police Joseph Boinnet said it was almost certain Kuno was killed.
"We have reports that he was killed in an airstrike and it was jointly conducted by the local security. He was behind the Garissa university attack," he said.
During the Garissa terror attack, 142 students were killed. Kuno has been on the run since then but once organised terror attacks in Kenya. The attack was as a result of an intensified US campaign against terrorism in the region.
Kuno was the mastermind of the Garissa attack and was in charge of external operations against Kenya. Kenyan police have been circulating pictures of Kuno and offered a Sh2 million bounty on him. Police said Kuno was believed to be behind attacks including that of Mandera in which over 60 people were killed.
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Kuno was al Shabaab's Jabha leader for Juba region, Somalia. He was in charge of external operations against Kenya.
"He commands the militia along the border and is responsible for cross-border incursions in the country," police said in 2014.
The statement revealed that in the recent past, Kuno had intensified attacks in Northern Kenya and the Coast region, particularly Garissa, Mandera and Lamu. He has three wives with the first one being a resident of Huda near Ras Kamboni.
"The second wife lives in Garissa. His third wife lives in Bulla Iftin, near Bulla Iftin Secondary School, in Garissa."
Gamadhere is believed to be religious and has been a Madrassa teacher for several years. He worked for Al-Haramain Foundation between 1993 and 1995 before the institution was closed, police said.
At the time he was known as Sheikh Muhamad. Later, he became a teacher and principal at Madrassa Najah in Garissa from 1997 to 2000 where his extremist tendencies became more manifest. He thereafter joined al Shabaab after being motivated by the ideology of Islamic Courts Union (ICU) to establish an Islamic statehood in Somalia.
It is reported that majority of the terror attacks in Garissa were carried out by former students of Madrassa Najah. Most of the recruits were drawn from close family members and clan mates. Gamadhere used the ideals of caliphate governance to persuade and recruit his students to join the Islamic Courts Union and later al Shabaab.
Kuno is the Al-Shabaab Jabha (Military) commander for Juba Region. The militant group has established a Jabha Unit in every region of Somalia and is charged with carrying out attacks against foreign troops. He is also credited with having an extensive terrorist network within Kenya particularly at the Dadaab refugee camp.
Gamadhere claimed responsibility for the November 22, 2014 bus attack in Mandera where 28 people were killed.