AU Compound attacker may have been American

al-shahab.jpgFurther to this post, it has been reported that one of the suicide attackers involved in the 17 September double SVBIED attack on an African Union peacekeeping force compound in Mogadishu was an American citizen.

A Somali-language website claims that one of the attackers was Omar Mohamed Mahmoud, a Somali-American who lived in United States until 2007. If true, this would chime with earlier reports that the bombers spoke English to the compound’s guards, who assumed they were UN personnel and allowed their vehicles into the base.

This is not the first time a Somali-American is thought to have perpetrated a suicide attack in Somalia. Last October, Sjirwa Ahmed was one of five attackers who struck in a series of coordinated attacks in Somalia and Puntland.

The sightly odd thing about this is that it seems like a waste of a potentially useful asset in an attack in Somalia. Both these individuals presumably had US passports or at least valid visas/greencards. If al-Qaida is operating in Somalia, one might think they would seize upon US passport holders willing to conduct such attacks and send them back to the US to mount an attack.

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