An Islamist group says an American militant of Somali origin carried out a suicide bombing against an African Union base on Saturday, killing at least 10 people in Mogadishu, and it released a suicide message that it says he recorded before the attack.
Abdisalan Hussein Ali, 22, was among about 20 young Somali Americans from Minneapolis allegedly recruited since 2007 by the Shabab, a rebel group, to fight in Somalia.
In an audio clip aired Sunday on a Somali radio station associated with the Shabab, a voice attributed to Ali said in English that jihad, or holy war, was the most important objective for Muslims and urged them not to “just chill out all day.”
“It is not important that you become a doctor or you become some sort of engineer.”
The speaker also called for attacks on nations including the U.S.
“My brothers and sisters, do jihad in America, do jihad in Canada, do jihad in England, anywhere in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in China, in Australia, anywhere you find kafir [those who don’t believe in Islam]. Fight them and be firm against them.”
U.S. officials did not confirm claims of Ali’s involvement in the bombing.
A Minneapolis news website, MinnPost.com, reported Monday that university friends of Ali did not believe the voice in the clip was his.
“That did not sound like Bullethead,” the website quoted one friend as saying, using Ali’s nickname.
Ali was one of 14 Americans indicted in 2010 on charges of supporting the Shabab, which is fighting the United Nations-backed Somali transitional federal government and has links with the Al Qaeda terrorist network. The Shabab is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., Britain and other countries.
A suicide bombing in Somalia by an American raises fears of other recruits returning to the U.S. to carry out attacks or enlist more militants.
There have been at least two previous American suicide bombers in Somalia, Farah Mohamed Beledi, 27, who attacked a military base in May, killing three people, and Shirwa Ahmed, who left the U.S. in 2007 and targeted the Ethiopian Consulate in Hargeisa in 2008, killing more than 20 people.
Several other young Somali Americans from Minneapolis reportedly have been killed in fighting in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, in recent years.
Another American who joined the Shabab, Abu Mansour al-Amriki, or Omar Hammami, of Alabama recorded a militant recruitment rap song and features heavily in the group’s efforts to recruit Americans and other Westerners.
In 2009, he was featured in a Shabab recruitment video. Another video released that year featured two young men who identified themselves as Somali Americans.
The Shabab reportedly has more than 300 recruits from Britain, Sweden, Canada, Australia, the Middle East, South Asia, Kenya and elsewhere.