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Somalia militants name new leader

Somalia's Islamic extremist rebels, al Shabab, named a new leader today after confirming the killing of their previous leader by a US air strike.

The Somali militants unanimously selected Ahmad Umar, also known as Abu Ubaidah, at a meeting in an undisclosed location in Somalia, said rebel commander Abu Mohammed.

Al Shabab also stated that it remains aligned with al Qaida, according to the Site Intelligence Group, that monitors statements by Islamic militant groups.

There had been speculation that al Shabab would be shaken by a power struggle over the selection of a new leader and that perhaps the Somali rebels would change alliance and become allied to the Islamic State group.

The Somali group had to appoint a new leader following the death of Ahmed Abdi Godane who was killed with two other officials by a US air strike on Monday. The attack took place 105 miles (170 kilometres) south of Mogadishu, where al Shabab trains its fighters.

"Avenging the death of our scholars and leader is a binding obligation on our shoulders that we will never relinquish nor forget no matter how long it takes," said the al-Shabab statement, according to Site.

President Barrack Obama confirmed on Friday that Godane was killed by the air strike.

Godane had publicly claimed al Shabab was responsible for the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya, almost a year ago that left 67 people dead.

The US had offered a reward of up to seven million dollars (£4.3m) for information leading to his arrest.

The US State Department declared al Shabab a terrorist organisation in February 2008.


From Belfast Telegraph