US extremist in Somalia battles ex-comrades
30 April 2013, 15:44
Nairobi - An American extremist in Somalia is fighting
former comrades in the al-Qaeda linked Shabaab insurgent group, in what he says
may be his final stand, he writes.
Alabama-born Omar Hamami - better known as Al-Amriki or
"the American" - once fought alongside the hardline Shabaab in
Somalia, but last year fell out with the fighters who now want to kill him.
He is also wanted by the US government, who have placed a
$5m bounty on his head and is listed on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list.
"We were forced to fight in self defence and killed
three and wounded others," he wrote in a message on Twitter, posted late
"May not find another chance to Tweet but just remember
what we said and what we stood for. God kept me alive to deliver the message to
the ummah [community]."
Hamami, 28, moved to Somalia in 2006 and began to work for
Shabaab recruiting young trainees through his English-language rap songs and
videos, but later split from the main wing of the Shabaab.
"They raided our houses and took our stuff, and said
they found condoms, alcohol, and documents," he added, writing from an
undisclosed location in Somalia. "Their goal is to kill us regardless of
Last week he claimed a Shabaab gunmen tried to assassinate
him while he was drinking tea in a cafe, posting a photograph of himself
dripping with blood from where he said the pistol bullet grazed his throat.
"They are sending forces from multiple
directions," he wrote last week. "We are few but might get back
Born in 1984 to a Syrian Muslim father and a white
Protestant mother, Hamami was raised as a Christian but began to feel estranged
from his upbringing as teenager before moving to Somalia.
"'I'm on a mission from God', minus the blues
music", he wrote last week, an apparent reference to the 1980 Blues
Brothers film, an American musical comedy.