Western intelligence agencies worked with the man suspected of masterminding the Westgate mall attack, a former informant for the CIA and the Danish intelligence service has claimed.
Mr Morten Storm, a Dane who worked as an informer for the two intelligence units for five years, told CNN in a chilling interview that he had forged a close relationship with the Kenyan-born Abdukadir Mohamed Abdukadir alias Ikrima.
Ikrima has been responsible for planning attacks inside Kenya for Al-Shabaab, according to CNN.
Mr Storm told the US news channel that Danish intelligence agency PET had, in March 2012, offered him one million Danish kroners (Sh17 million) on behalf of the CIA if he could lead them to Ikrima. (The story does not disclose if he took the money and what happened in regard to the offer.)
He revealed that Ikrima was the target of the unsuccessful raid by US Navy Seals last month on an Al-Shabaab compound at Barawe in Somalia. The terrorist escaped.
The former informant claimed that he could have intercepted the planning of the Westgate attack were he still working for the Western intelligence.
Mr Storm disclosed that his relationship with PET and the CIA ended in mid-2012 after a disagreement over a different mission in Yemen. This stymied advanced efforts to capture Ikrima.
“I get really frustrated to know that Ikrima had been maybe involved in the Westgate terrorist attack. It frustrates me a lot because it could have been stopped and I’m sad I can’t be involved in this,” Mr Storm told CNN.
CNN said CIA declined to comment on the claims with a spokesperson for PET saying: “We can’t confirm or deny ever knowing Morten Storm.”
The report further cites Kenyan counter-terrorism sources as saying they believe Ikrima played a role in the Westgate attack.
He is also suspected to be behind plots targeting Kenya in the last two years — including hitting Kenya’s Parliament in late 2011.
Mr Storm said he first made contact with Ikrima in 2008 when he met him on the first floor of Jamia Shopping Mall in Nairobi.
The second meeting took place in 2009 in Nairobi when Abdelkadir Warsame, a senior Al-Shabaab operative, sent Ikrima to pick up electronic equipment from Mr Storm.
The equipment were meant for one of Al-Shabaab’s leaders, he said.
The former informant says Ikrima was not aware that he was working for PET, Britain’s MI6, and the CIA. He said tracking devices had been hidden in the equipment, which included a laptop.
In early 2010, Mr Storm says he connected Ikrima to Anwar al Awlaki, the American-Yemeni cleric who had by then begun overseeing Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s operations against the West.