Death of Shabaab boss a 'very strong probability'
03 September 2014, 15:48
Nairobi - The death of the leader of Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab rebels in a US air strike is a "very strong probability" but still unconfirmed, security sources told AFP on Wednesday.
"There is a very strong probability that he is dead... this requires verification on the ground, which is not simple," said a western security source, who asked not be identified.
The comment was echoed by a senior Somali security official.
Also read: Al Shabaab leader feared dead
"We believe that the Shabaab leader is dead, though we don't have his body. Most probably he is dead," said the official, who also spoke on condition he not be named.
He said he believed the Shabaab were now "talking about a successor" to Ahmed Abdi Godane.
"But we are still assessing the situation," the official said.
A senior Somali security official also said Ahmed Abdi Godane was "most probably" killed in late Monday's air strike.
Contacted by AFP, Shabaab officials maintained their position of refusing to confirm or deny the reports.
It was al-Shabaab gunmen who attacked the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi, with guns and grenades last September, killing at least 67 people.
Read also: Al Shabaab leader confirms Westgate mall attack
Al-Shabaab had threatened retaliation against Kenya for sending troops into Somalia against the extremists.
Godane said the attack was carried out in retaliation for the West's support for Kenya's Somalia invasion and the "interest of their oil companies."