An intelligence assessment by Strategic Intelligence (S.I) on a clandestine precision airstrike conducted on 22nd of March 2019 by an unidentified aircraft, targeting a building complex in Bu’aale town in Middle Juba prefecture of Somalia shows the airstrike may have killed Kenyan born terrorists and group top commander, Ahmad Iman Ali and over 40 other members of the Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, Harakat Shabaab Mujahideen.
The death of Iman Ali will be a significant blow to the terrorist group and its grassroots cells. Since 2012, Ali aka Abu-Zinira was the face of the terror groups, jihadist’s recruitment, expansion, and media strategy. He is behind the establishment of terror cells in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Uganda, Burundi, and DR Congo.
Ahmad Iman Ali, a terrorist recruiter and trainer has been on the international wanted list and was listed as a wanted terrorist by the FBI. Ali has been responsible for propaganda productions and publications targeting the Republic of Kenya. He had also taken up the role of a spiritual leader, picking up from where the Kenyan radical Islam jihadist Aboud Rogo and Sheikh Makaburi left. His last production using the Al-Kataib Media was in 2017. He was elevated to lead the Al-Qaeda strategy becoming a powerful figure in the terrorist group. Using Al-Hijra label to communicate Al-Qaeda exploits in the Islamic Maghreb and AQIP, he was the equivalent of Al-Qaeda’s regional liaison officer.
Bu’aale township hidden in Middle Juba north of the terror group’s headquarters of Jiliib and is one of the largest training bases in Somalia. Bu’aale is also used by the terrorist group as a logistics and intelligence operations training and planning base. It is also used to hold prisoners particularly AMISOM troops injured and lost in battle grounds.