Al-Shabaab’s leader claims the US and Britain are leading an ‘invasion’ in his first audio message in three years – and condemns ‘hostility by Christians against Muslim society’
- Ahmed Diriye accused the West of pillaging oil and looting natural resources
- Diriye criticised Kenya over spat with Somalia over maritime water and reserves
- The 20-minute clip condemning the West is his first message since 2016
The leader of Somali Islamist group Al-Shabaab yesterday claimed the US and Britain have increased ‘invasions’ and are ‘hostile’ against Muslim society in his first message in three years.
Ahmed Diriye, who is one of the world’s most wanted men, released a 20-minute recording on Thursday accusing the West of pillaging oil and looting natural resources while condemning a spat over maritime waters.
Diriye, who succeeded Ahmed Godan after he was killed in an American drone strike in 2014, in particular criticised Kenya, claiming Somalia’s oceans were ‘handed over’ to them with lucrative oil and gas at stake.
Ahmed Diriye, who is one of the world’s most wanted men, released a 20-minute recording on Thursday accusing the West of pillaging oil and looting natural resources
‘There seems to be an increase in the invasion led by the United States and Britain,’ Diriye said in the message circulated on pro-Shabaab websites.
‘Hostility by Christians against Muslim society has increased. The objective of this hostility is to loot the oil wells in the country and other natural resources such as fish, and to hand our oceans over to Kenya and Ethiopia,’ he said.
The disputed region covers more than 40,000 square miles where Kenya has already granted exploration permits for three oil blocks, a move the Somalis are contesting.
Somalia has taken the case to the International Court of Justice, the UN’s highest court, which will begin hearing it in November.
Diriye, who succeeded Ahmed Godan after he was killed in an American drone strike in 2014, in particular criticised Kenya, claiming Somalia’s oceans were ‘handed over’ (pictured Al-Shebab fighters in 2013)
‘We are informing our Muslim nation that the Mujahideen will never accept, and are against any decision made by the so-called International Criminal Court,’ said Diriye.
‘We tell the world that we don’t compromise on our oceans and we need our society to be aware that Kenya has already engulfed a large swathe of our territory before aiming for the maritime claim.’
Al-Shabaab considers that part of north-eastern Kenya – historically inhabited by ethnic Somalis – should be returned to Somalia.
Kenya and Ethiopia are both part of the African Union’s peacekeeping mission in Somalia which has been deployed since 2007 to support the fragile central government and played a key role in pushing the Shabaab out of much of southern Somalia.
Al-Shabaab considers that part of north-eastern Kenya – historically inhabited by ethnic Somalis – should be returned to Somalia (pictured Al-Shebab fighters in 2013)
The leader also referred to the contentious elections in the semi-autonomous state of Jubaland at the end of August in his first message since 2016.
Since Kenyan forces deployed to Somalia in 2011, the Shabaab have carried out several deadly attacks on its soil, the latest on January 15 against an office complex housing the Dusit hotel, which left 21 dead.
Diriye was listed by the U.S State Department Specially Designated Global Terrorist in April 2015. He reportedly has a bounty on his head of $6million.