REPORTING FROM NAIROBI, KENYA -- An American jihadist of Somali origin is reported to have carried out a suicide bombing against an African Union base in Mogadishu over the weekend, killing at least 10 people.
An audio clip aired Sunday on a Somali radio station associated with the Somali rebel group Al Shabab included a voice alleged to be that of Abdisalan Hussein Ali, 22, of Minneapolis. The speaker urged in English that jihad is the most important objective for Muslims and not to "just chill out all day."
“It is not important that you become a doctor or you become some sort of engineer.”
The audio clip urged attacks on a list of countries, including the United States.
“My brothers and sisters, do jihad in America, do jihad in Canada, do jihad in England, anywhere in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in China, in Australia, anywhere you find kaffir [non-Islamic believers]. Fight them and be firm against them.”
U.S. officials have not confirmed the claim that Ali was involved in the attack Saturday on African Union troops, who are serving as peacekeepers in Somalia.
He was one of 14 Americans indicted in 2010 over their alleged support for Al Shabab, which has links to Al Qaeda and is fighting the U.N.-backed transitional government of Somalia. Al Shabab is designated a terror organization by the U.S., Britain and other countries.
The deaths of American suicide bombers in Somalia raises fears that a U.S. recruit trained in Somalia may return home to carry out attacks or enlist more jihadists.
A Minneapolis news website, MinnPost.com, reported Monday that university friends of Ali’s did not believe the voice belonged to him.
“That did not sound like Bullethead,” the website quoted one of the friends saying, referring to Ali’s nickname.
-- Robyn Dixon
Photo: African Union tanks are seen guarding thefront of their base in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Saturday. At least 10 people died that day during an attack by insurgents on the alliance's peacekeepers in the city. Credit: Farah Abdi Warsameh / Associated Press