MOGADISHU, Somalia – Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri could still be alive according to the latest audio released by Al-Shabaab boss Ahmed Omar Diriye, aka Abu Ubaidah, who is believed to be his close ally and associate of the East African region.
In updated audio released by Al-Shabaab proxy media teams, Ahmed Omar [Abu Ubaidah] seems to suggest that Ayman Al-Zawahiri is alive, despite reports that the Al Qaeda leader may have died in October 2020, after reports of ill health that were widely published around the world.
Al-Shabaab chief is heard praising his al-Qaeda boss, vowing the network will continue to fight for its space in the world in addition to punishing those who inflict pain and harm on their people in the world for decades now.
He points to America as Al Qaeda’s “greatest enemy”, adding that “together with our leader, we will make sure they are defeated”. It is not known when the audio was recorded, but the Al-Shabaab leader, who is also said to be struggling with health issues, also released the names of the fighters killed in the raid on Manda airfield which happened exactly one year ago.
Al-Shabaab pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda, a terrorist network whose leader Osman Bin Laden was killed by the US Navy Seals in 2012, 2010. The group began fighting in Somalia in 2008 and since then it targeted thousands of innocent civilians. and the country’s security forces.
The Manda Airfield raid targeted US troops serving in Kenya and the attackers left three US citizens dead. Since then, partners in the United States and East Africa have stepped up the crackdown on Al-Shabaab, which is Al-Qaida’s main ally in the East Africa region.
Al-Shabaab attackers in Manda airfield identified by their leader include Moulana Faruq Moulana, Ahmed Al-Muhajir, commander (Yemen), Abubakar Al-Muhajir (Tanzania), Ali Muhammad Ali, Qudama Al-Muhajir (Ethiopia ) and Abdulwali Muhammad. Ibrahim “Moallim Omar” and Adam Iman Yusuf, Abdulkareem who are both Somalis.
Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda have struggled in recent months, with internal cracks and shrinking financial fortunes the main cause. In addition, the groups have lost several fighters in major security operations carried out by multi-agency teams around the world.