A Somali American blew himself up Monday at a checkpoint in Somalia's capital of Mogadishu, in a suicide attack for al-Shabaab. Abdullah Ahmed, a 25-year-old Minnesotan who had moved to the wartorn nation two years ago, became the latest American casuality in the battle for Somalia.
Ahmed blew himself up at a military checkpoint run by African peacekeeping force AMISOM, killing two peacekeepers and one Somali government soldier. The attack was initially reported on the Somali Memo website, along with a 22-minute audio (since removed) which includes a statement by Ahmed encouraging Muslims in the West to "die for their religion."
Ahmed is at least the third Somali American to carry out a suicide bombing on behalf of al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida affiliated organization that has targeted young expat Somalis. Shirwa Ahmed from Minneapolis, detonated himself in the northern territory of Somaliland in October 2008, in a joint suicide attack that killed 21 people. In September 2009, a Somali American from Seattle drove two stolen U.N. cars into a base for African peacekeepers, also killing 21.
Al-Shabaab's recruitment videos target young Somalis and East Africans abroad, trying to bring in members to shore up the group's declining numbers. At least 20 Somali Americans have joined al-Shabaab, with large numbers of expats in Sweden, Canada, East Africa also joining the group. The group's propaganda have also pushed for the murder of Muhammad cartoonists and publishers at Danish paper Jyllands-Posten.
Al-Shabaab has been at war with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and other autonomous regions, trying to implement sharia over the country and large Somali minorities in neighboring countries.