INTREP on Ahmed Iman Ali: Major Defections Looming by Kenyan Fighters in Al-Shabaab Ranks

Key Kenyan commanders in the Al-Shabaab terrorist group are planning for their defection following sharp divisions within the terror group’s top command, intelligence reports shows.

Classified intelligence reports shows that the much sought Kenyan Al-Shabaab commander alongside five other top Kenyan fighters operating in Somalia are contemplating defection from the group after being disgruntled and now are fearing for an imminent execution.

Ahmed Iman Ali aka Abu Zinira who was an Engineering student from Jomo Kenyatta University travelled to Somalia in 2009 and has been involved in planning of terror activities in Somalia and East Africa and particularly his home country Kenya. Reports also indicate that he was responsible for the terror group’s propaganda wing and media.

Iman Ali’s motivation to leave the terror group and its activities is set to be a huge blow to the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab terrorists group headquartered in Jilib town of Somalia.

Further, intelligence reports points out that Iman Ali had hatched a plan to establish his own terror group in the vast Boni forest in Kenya, riding on parent Al-Shabaab’s finances. The Jihadi group was later to detach from Al-Shabaab and mainstream Al-Qaeda and operate independently under his command. The splinter group would operate in NEP and Coastal parts of Kenya.

However, seems his plan was not received well by top Al-Shabaab leadership and would not trust a foreigner to lead such a major terror unit.

Al-Shabaab’s Emir, then under Ahmed Abdi Godane nominated a Somali, identified as Maalim Ayman to lead the terror unit which currently is known as Jaysh Ayman (operating in Boni forest and its environs).

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Following this appointment, Iman Ali felt betrayed by Al-Shabaab leadership and subsequently sent in advance a team of his close jihadi friends to Kenya to lay ground for his defection.

Those sent were among them; Rashid Mohamed, Bwajuma and Mohamed Khalid aka Cortez. Report points out that Iman’s close associate namely; Muhamed Mutevi aka Musa Bamee reportedly is trying to reach Kenyan authorities over planned defection for most wanted terror figure Ahmed Iman Ali.

Musa was among the co-founders of MYC in Majengo but unlike other members has never travelled to Somalia to join Iman Ali. Instead Musa has remained home (in Kenya) where he has been local coordinator for Iman Ali and financial facilitator for the Kenyan Al-Shabaab fighters from Majengo who are now based in Somalia.

The report further show that Iman Ali anticipated defection has been prompted by the recent defection of Mukhtar Robow, an Al-Shabaab Jihadi Icon, who was his mentor.

Al-Shabaab is currently facing a mass exodus as fighters scramble to take up the amnesty offer by President Mohamed Abdullahi ‘Farmajo’ Mohammed and also given the heavy offensive against them by AMISOM, US Special Forces and the Somali National Army–SNA.

Some of the senior leaders who have since defected include; former Deputy Leader Mukhtar Robow, former leading figure in the terror groups’ intelligence wing, Zakariya Ahmed Ismael Hersi, Elgadud Jabha leader, Mohamed Yussuf Deel, former commander in-charge of Gedo region, Adam aka Abu Mujahid, Ex Puntland Militia Leader and Al-Shabaab Commander Mohammed Said Atom and former senior leader and member of the groups’ Shura Council, Hassan Dahir Aweys.

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