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Kenya: Was Sheikh Rogo Shot By American Agents?

Monday, July 22, 2013

SHEIKH Aboud Rogo Mohammed was probably assassinated by American agents, according to the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia. Sheikh Rogo, the ideological leader of the Muslim Youth Centre in Pumwani, was killed in Mombasa on August 27, 2012 when gunmen in another vehicle opened fire on his van. His wife was injured in the incident.

The Muslim Youth Centre has since changed its name to Al Hijra. "While Al-Shabaab experienced military reverses in Somalia, across the border in Kenya, Al Hijra members were plagued by unexplained killings, disappearances, continuous "catch and release" arrest raids and operational disruptions under the Al-Shabaab/East Africa Al-Qaida Disruption Initiative.

For instance, on 27 August 2012, the ideological leader of Al Hijra, Sheikh Aboud Rogo Mohammed, was inexplicably killed in Mombasa, Kenya, a month after the Committee designated him for targeted measures," the report says.

"The Monitoring Group is aware of an initiative funded by the Government of the United States, called "Al-Shabaab/East Africa Al-Qaida Disruption Initiative" whose purpose is to assist East African security services in combating terrorism", says the report.

The Monitoring Group report was presented to the UN Security Council on Wednesday. It noted that active Al Hijra members like Sylvester Opiyo alias Musa Osodo, Jeremiah Onyango Okumu and Steven Mwanzia Osaka aka Duda Black and Duda Brown, also disappeared around the same time.

Rogo had been placed on a US sanctions list in July 2012 for "engaging in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security or stability of Somalia".

The UN Security Council had also imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on Rogo, accusing him of providing "financial, material, logistical or technical support to Al-Shabaab".

Rogo was accused of radicalisation and recruitment of youth to join Al Shabaab in Somalia. The targeting of Al Hijra reduce the threat of Al-Shabaab in East Africa, according to the report.

"Not only was Al Hijra's ability to radicalize and recruit new fighters to be sent to Somalia weakened, but its operational ability to pursue its declared war inside Kenya on behalf and in support of Al-Shabaab declined," said the report.

The capture of Kismayu by AMISOM and leadership struggles inside Al Shabaab further weakened Al Hijira, according to the report. "Despite the setbacks, Al Hijra, like Al-Shabaab, is striving to remain a credible threat to peace and security both in Somalia and outside," says the report which says that it is now trying to link up with the Ansar Muslim Youth Centre in Tanzania.

The Muslim Youth Centre based at the Pumwani mosque was set up by Sheikh Ahmed Iman Ali in 2008. In 2011 he was named Al Shabaab's leader and coordinator in Kenya.

"The lingering influence and leadership of Ahmad Iman, also Al-Shabaab's representative for Kenya, inspired a wave of attacks by grenade and improvised explosive device across Kenya, mostly against the local population.

While this approach has had marginal success, both Al-Shabaab and Ahmad Iman have repeatedly called from Somalia for sustained attacks in the region and particularly in Kenya," says the report.

The report says that Al Hijra has sought operational guidance from individuals with links to Al-Qaida in East Africa including Abubakar Shariff Ahmed 'Makaburi' and UK national Jermaine John Grant.

The report says that the Pumwani Riyadha Mosque Committee has provided clandestine financial support to Al Hijra, particularly to fighters returning from Somalia to Kenya but are now more cautious because of the new Kenya Prevention of Terrorism Act (2012).

"Despite its public and firm denial of funding or assisting recruitment for Al-Shabaab, the Pumwani Riyadha Mosque Committee continues to view its support of Al-Shabaab through Al Hijra as a religious obligation," the report says.

On 31 July, 2012, a Pumwani Riyadha Mosque Committee worker was arrested in Nairobi after collecting from DHL a package from China with car key alarms and laser range finders used for making Improvised Explosive Devices.


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