Just when I thought we might not hear from Omar Hammami again, the guy allegedly surfaces yesterday in an interview with VOA – Somalia. Of course, remember this is media reporting coming from Somalia and “phone interviews” often turn out to be false. However, the anti-Shabaab Twittersphere lit up over the weekend suggesting that this VOA Somalia interview with Omar may be true.
The VOA Somalia post (I think) has been duplicated in English at Kismaayo.com and states:
Omar Hammami, an Alabama native who traveled to Somalia in 2006 to join Al-Shabaab militant group, has on Tuesday announced to have defected from the group and Al-Qaeda as well, though he still sees himself as a terrorist.
I thought it was pretty clear from the past couple years that Omar was not supporting Shabaab and this past spring Omar had stated that the world was in a post – al Qaeda period noting that Syria was the place to be to wage jihad. But, Omar still sees himself a terrorist? Interesting, I guess he is on a solo mission now – “A Terrorist Army of One” – prepared to fight the West, Shabaab and al Qaeda if he can only get out of interior Somalia. Getting out of Somalia appears to be further complicated by the fact that Godane and Shabaab may have just apprehended his wives (according to news reports).
He accused Ahmed Godane’s faction of killing a person who ‘offered shelter’ to two of his wives in Dinsor district, Bay region.
Twitter conversations suggest that Godane abducted Hammami’s two wives. I’m not entirely sure this is correct, but if it is, this would presumably be a ploy by Godane and Shabaab to draw Hammami back out into the open. Hammami is one of the last dissenters and I’ve not seen much reporting of Robow lately – not sure what he’s up to or if he is supporting Hammami.
I assume it was only a matter of time before Godane went after Hammami’s family. As Hammami noted from his tweets back in January, he thought of himself as a family man and even posted a family photo (a very American style one I might add – see below) on his Twitter account. Unless he was bluffing, one would assume that his family matters to him.
So what will it be? Will Omar emerge from the forests to strike revenge on Godane and rescue his wives and family? Or will he stay in the shadows to rebuild another force to counter Shabaab? This story gets more Hollywood everyday.