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 5:45 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
updated 9:43 PM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
updated 4:48 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
updated 9:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
updated 7:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
updated 5:26 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
updated 5:54 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
updated 9:31 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT