Top Al Qaeda commander killed in Somalia "Inside Job"
A top al Qaeda commander and successor of the late Harun Fazul as the regional leader was assassinated in Mogadishu in a power struggle that had gripped the terror group.
Hassan Dahir Aweys
Bilal ElBerjawi, a British national of Lebanese descent was killed in a car bomb inElasha Biyaha, 15 kilometres south of Mogadishu on Saturday.
The killing is suspected to be aninside job following intensified divisions within the ranks of top Al-Shabaaband Al-Qaeda leaders. In the recentpast, three rival factions have emerged within the terrorist ranks in Somaliapitting local versus foreign dominated militants. It is believed that there isa faction led by one Omar Hammami alias Abu Mansur Al-Ameriki who is allied toAhmed Aw Abdi Godane (Alias Abu Zubeyr)- Al-Shabaab de-facto leader, theAl-Qaeda linked faction led by Berjawi and the Kenyan group led by Ahmed ImanAli who has links with Muslim Youth Council (MYC) of Majengo.
Berjawi took over the leadership ofAl-Qaeda in Somalia following the killing of senior Al-Qaeda leader, HarunFazul on 11 June, 2011 in a Mogadishu road block by TransitionalFederal Government forces. Fazul succeeded Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan who waskilled by US special commandos on 14 September, 2009. The car bombing that led to thekilling of Berjawi is suspected to be the work of top Al-Shabaab leadersincluding the overall Emir of the group, Ahmed Godane alias Abu Zubeyr.
Al-Qaeda led by Berjawi and Al-ShabaabSomalia wing opposed to Godane’s leadership have in the recent past madeseveral attempts to replace Godane as the overall Al-Shabaab leader but foreignfighters led by Al-Ameriki came to his rescue threatening to pull out foreign foreignersallied to them out of Somalia and cutting off external funding to the terrorgroup. Berjawi and local Somali Al-Shabaab leaders including Mukhtar Robow,Fuad Shongole, Ali Dheere and Hassan Dahir Aweys have condemned his leadershipof being high handed and resisting change.
In early December, 2011, Al-Shabaabmilitia group leaders opposed to Godane held a week long meeting in Baidoa,Southern Somalia where they proposed leadership change, change of name toImaarah Islamiyah (Islamic Authority) and reduction of external influence(foreign fighters) in the management of the group. Ahmed Godane was the onlyAl-Shabaab leader who did not attend the meeting and sent a message opposingthe resolutions of the meeting.
Berjawi’s came to Somalia in 2006 andfought alongside the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) the predecessor of Al-Shabaabmilitia group. He was involved in the formation of the Kenyan cell of Al-Qaeda.He controlled vast resources channeled through him to Somalia that gave hisfaction massive influence and an advantage over other group fighting to takecontrol of the terror group.
The death of Berjawi has furtherintensified divisions within the ranks of Al-Shabaab and foreign fighters inSomalia and the East Africa region following claims that Godane and topAl-Shabaab leaders were either directly involved in the planning and executionof Berjawi or provided vital information that led to his killing.
The Al-Shabaab websites of Somalimemoand their twitter account of HSM Press Office has confirmed the killing ofBerjawi but claimed that a US drone attack was involved in his killing. Multiple sources on the ground havereported that the car bombing was as a result of an improvised explosive device(IED) or land mine planted on the path of the vehicle and not a drone attack asclaimed by the militia group.