Al Qaeda has established a new dedicated branch for Kenya. The branch, called Al Muhajiroun, is subordinated to Somalia-based Al Shabaab as it is still at its infancy. Later on, Al Qaeda hopes that it will exists an an independent functional terror outfit. Al Muhajiroun appears to be made up entirely of members of Ansar al Mujahideen. One of its senior leaders is Ahmed Iman Ali (alias Abu Zinnrah and whose photo appears below), the former leader of MYC (Muslim Youth Centre which has rebranded itself as Al Hijra) and former chairman of Pumwani Riyadha Mosque.
Ansar al Mujahideen has fought alongside Harakat-al-Shabaab-al-Mujahideen (HSM) in Somalia as a separate but cohesive unit made up of foreign jihadists. HSM has acknowledged, acceded and recognized their efforts in prolonging the lifespan of the Islamist insurgency in Somalia.
Al Qaeda, noting the limitations of Al Shabaab, has decided to create a new branch for exporting jihad into Kenya and East Africa in general; and Al Muhajiroun is the result.
Members of Al Muhajiroun are predominantly from Kenya, Canada, Australia and France. The members have made baya’ah (an oath of allegiance) to the emir of Al Shabaab,Sheikh Ahmad Umar Abu Ubaidah. Al-Muhajiroun – as Emigrants of East Africa – has also made a collective solemn and irrevocable baya’ah to Ayman al Zawahiri, the leader of Al Qaeda; and also recognizes him as the overall leader of Jihadists in East Africa.
One of the senior leaders of al Muhajiroun is of Kenyan extraction and goes by the moniker Abu Salim al-Kenyi; and who SIS has identified as non-other than Ahmed Iman Ali.
Though the group main focus of operation is Kenya, its chief objectives are to spread jihad in East Africa as well as recalibrating Islamic discourse in the region so that it aligns to a strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islamic teachings.