man speaks out against his portrayal in the press as #alShabaab’s leader Ahmed Godane
For years now, whenever a Somali news article’s subject was sheikh Mukhtar abu zubeyr AKA Ahmed Abdi Godane , a picture of thin middle aged Somali man, wearing a pair photo-chromic glasses with sparse facial hair looking into the distance is attached, the purported picture, as that of the leader of one of Al Qaeda’s most powerful affiliates, the Somali Islamist militant group Al-shabaab.
listed as a rouge on Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World”, alongside Afghanistan’s Taliban leader Mullah Muhammed Omar,both men are described as being propelled by “the hypnotic appeal of establishing God’s Kingdom on earth”.
Perhaps this international exposure, was the last straw that broke the camel’s back as it were, for the man who that picture actually belongs to and who incidentally has absolutely nothing to do with Somalia’s Islamist insurgency.
speaking from guriceel to multiple local media outlets earlier this month, Shuuke abdirahman Odowa remarked bitterly ” i call the on world and the transitional federal government to take legal action against those websites (that use my picture).”
“i feel that i have been criminalised for something i did not commit, and that i have become something of a pariah unable to travel freely” Mr odowa said to another Somali news website.
Shuuke abdirahman Odowa, was a former commander of Hizbul-Islam that has merged with Al shabaab back in 2010 under Sheikh hassan dahir aweys’s leadership, after years of tumultuous relationship and series of defections that has plagued the group.
Mr Odowa washed his hands from the Islamist rebels in 2009, accusing hizbul islam of ” diverting from the goal that it was established for” at an event, attended by former Security Minister Abdullahi Mohamed Sanbalolshe, along with 19 of his fighters including battle wagons.
his defection came shortly after his brother Ahmed Abdirrahman Odawa AKA Taliban another hizbul islam commander, was killed in ceelasha biyah area which Shuuke was in charge of belhaf of the group.
Shuuke said the famous photo was taken of him after his defection, and was used from thereon as Ahmed Godane’s only known photo. The simple fact is, there are no known pictures of Ahmed Abdi Godane.
Two decades of dictatorship followed by another almost two decades of anarchy, produced politically divided along clan lines media outlets in somalia, with little in the way of accountancy and responsible journalism,but sadder yet is the lack of due diligence on behalf TIME magazine.
Mr. odowa speaking to Somali language channel Universal TV about his plightFollow the Somali War Monitor on Twitter