Skip to main content

Top Somali militant, wanted by U.S., killed in infighting

By Melissa Gray, CNN
updated 6:32 AM EDT, Mon July 1, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ibrahim Al Afghani was a top member of the Al-Shabaab militant group
  • The United States had a $5 million bounty on his head
  • Fighting between two Al-Shabaab factions began about a month ago
  • The group denies a split and blames the reports on local media

(CNN) -- A senior Somali militant who had a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head has been killed in infighting among members of the al Qaeda-aligned group Al-Shabaab, a spokesman for the group said Saturday.

Ibrahim Al Afghani, a senior member of Al-Shabaab, was killed along with another top member, Moalim Burhan, in a shootout between two factions of the group June 20, spokesman Abu Musab said.

Al Afghani was wanted for terrorism by the U.S. State Department, which offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his location.

A U.S. administration official said the United States believes the report of his death is true.

2012: The battle against al-Shabaab

It is the first time Al-Shabaab has confirmed the killing of two of its most senior members.

The internal fighting in Al-Shabaab is between two groups, one loyal to founding member Ahmed Godane and another, smaller faction that supports foreign jihadists in Somalia. It began about a month ago when a member of the smaller group was targeted in a tea shop, allegedly by members from the other side.

Al Afghani and Burhan were both members of the smaller faction.

The main Al-Shabaab group denies there is infighting and blames reports of a split on local media.

Musab said the two men were killed when Al-Shabaab fighters tried to arrest them for supporting foreign jihadists and the pair fought back. He said Al Afghani and Burhan were not killed intentionally.

Residents of the town where the men were killed described heavy fighting between opposing sides of Al-Shabaab. They told the private Shabelle Media Network that they fear war between the two factions could break out at any time.

In addition to the killing of the two, a prominent Somali militant leader was arrested by pro-government forces and turned over to the government in Mogadishu.

Hassan Dahir Aweys was detained this month.

In 2012: U.S. puts bounties on 7 key members of Somali terror group

CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:25 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Action needs to be taken immediately before affected states potentially collapse, says campaigner Bob Geldof.
updated 9:02 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
updated 12:29 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
updated 6:33 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Serbia and Albania try to play but the major game is called off after a drone flying a political flag enters the stadium.
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
George Clooney's new wife, is now Amal Clooney, raising the issue of married names.
updated 1:57 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
The mysterious unmanned X-37B space plane returns to Earth after more than two years in space. But the U.S. Air force isn't saying much.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT