Saturday, June 11, 2011

Nairobi bomb blast mastermind is dead

The mastermind of the 1998 twin bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam Fazul Abdullah has been killed by Somalia government forces in Mogadishu. FILE

The mastermind of the 1998 twin bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam Fazul Abdullah has been killed by Somalia government forces in Mogadishu. FILE 

By ZADOCK ANGIRA

The mastermind of the 1998 twin bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam Fazul Abdullah has been killed by Somalia government forces in Mogadishu.

Mr Abdullah, who holds a Kenyan passport, was wanted for the fatal bombing of US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that left at least 250 people dead and many injured.

He was reportedly killed by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces on Wednesday at a roadblock.

The run-away terrorist, who was on the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) watchlist of most wanted terrorists, is believed to have taken over the leadership of al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia, al-Shabaab from where he directed world attacks and African terror operations.

Confirming the reports, Kenya’s Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere said he was working with security officers in Somalia to get a comprehensive report.

"TFG forces have confirmed they gunned him down at a roadblock on Wednesday," Mr Iteere told the Nation Saturday.

Somalia militant group al Shaabab told the AFP news agency that Mr Abdullah was one of those killed.

"One of the men that was killed near Mogadishu was Fazul Abdullah, may Allah bless his soul. He is not dead as thousands like him are still in the fight against the enemy of Allah," a senior Al Shaabab commander had earlier told AFP on condition of anonymity.

In 2007, there were reports that he had been killed in a US airstrike on the remote Coastal village of Hayo, near the Southern Somali town of ras Kamboni but a senior official later denied that the al Qaeda terrorist was dead.

Mr Abdullahis purported to be the leader of the al Qaeda East African presence. He was born in Moroni, Comoros Islands and holds Kenyan and Comorian citizenship. He speaks French, Swahili, Arabic English and Comorian.

He was also wanted for the car bombing of Paradise Beach Hotel at Kikambala at the Coast in 2002. Thirteen people were killed and more than 80 people injured.

The FBI had offered a Sh400 million for information leading to his arrest.

"The Rewards For Justice Program, United States Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed," a posting on the FBI website reads.

According to the FBI, Mr Abdullah used 18 aliases.

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