Why American Suicide Attackers In Somalia Could Be A Future Threat


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Somali militant group al Shabaab claimed June 2 on its website that the suicide bomber who killed three soldiers in a May 30 attack on an African Union peacekeeping base in Mogadishu was a 25-year-old Somali-American from Minnesota who moved to Somalia two years ago.The man, Abdullalli Ahmed, was quoted as saying the attack was in retaliation for how Christians have treated Muslim countries.

If al Shabaab’s claim is true, this would be the third confirmed suicide attack carried out by a Somali-American in Somalia. The first was a Minneapolis man named Shirwa Ahmed, who blew himself up in October 2008 in Somaliland. The second was an unnamed 19-year-old from Seattle who was part of a suicide attack in Mogadishu in September 2009. The fact that Abdullalli Ahmed and Shirwa Ahmed were from Minnesota is notable; STRATFOR research indicates that a few dozen Somali-Americans who studied at the Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic centre in Minneapolis have been radicalized and moved to Somalia.

U.S. authorities are concerned that al Qaeda franchises, of which Al Shabaab is one, are using Somalia as a safe haven to plan and carry out attacks against U.S. interests. However, it is notable that these three suspected bombers were directed or chose to fight in Somalia rather than trying to carry out attacks against the United States.

In the near term, this means the threat posed by the influx into Somalia of radicalized Somali-Americans is localised in Somalia. However, it is possible those who survive could attempt to re-enter the United States using their U.S. passports, bringing their training and combat experience with them.

This post originally appeared at STRATFOR, the world’s leading private intelligence firm. To get access to more intelligence from STRATFOR, click here.