Denmark: Westergaard attacker was (almost) head of intelligence for al-Shabaab (UPDATED)

Denmark: Westergaard attacker was (almost) head of intelligence for al-Shabaab

Update: Axeman said to be al-Qaeda hopeful

For more stories on Muhudiin M. Geele:
* Denmark: Somali terrorist was role model for integration
* Denmark: Westergaard attacked worked for Red Cross
* Denmark: Kurt Westergaard attacker tried to kill Clinton; UPDATE: OR NOT?; UPDATE: Swedish terror links

The 28 year old Danish-Somali who attacked Muhammad cartoonist Kurt Westergaard on New Year's, had a much higher position in the Somali al-Shabaab organization than previously known, according to a highly-placed source in the Kenyan intelligence service, who talked on condition of anonymity.

He says that the Danish-Somali was supposed to replace the current head of intelligence for al-Shabaab, when the Danish-Somali was arrested by the Kenyan police this summer.

"The previous head of intelligence was seriously injured in June. We had received intelligence that there was a Dane on the way to take over the job," says the source, and names the man, who now sits in prison in Denmark on charges of the attempted murder of the Mohammad cartoonist.

The 28 year old Danish-Somali was arrested in a house in Eastleigh, Nairobi on July 30, 2009, where anti-terrorism police arrested five others that morning in a hunt for possible terrorists before the visit of the American secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

The Kenyan intelligence services think they one of those arrested was the former head of intelligence. He had just gotten one of his legs amputated.

The authorities suspect that it happened after he was fighting in Somalia. Therefore he couldn't continue any longer and had to find a successor. According to the highly-placed source, that was the 28 year old Danish-Somali.

"They were looking for somewhere to place him in East Africa. We don't know exactly where. But since Kenya is close to Somalia, that would be a good bet," says the source.

Al Amin Kimathi, head, of the Muslim Human Rights Association in Nairobi, spoke shortly after the arrests with the anti-terrorism police in Kenya about the 28 year old and the amputated man.

He confirms that the police thought the amputated man was a high-ranked al-Shabaab member.

"They thought that he came from the war zone in Somalia and had an important post in al-Shabbab, maybe as an intelligence head," Kimathi told Politiken.

At the same time the 28 year old Danish-Somali had apparently committed himself not to return to Denmark for the time being.

Four weeks before his arrest he reported to the Danish embassy in Nairobi that his passport was lost, but didn't apply for a new one. At his arrest he lived with his wife and three children in one of the most expensive neighborhoods of Nairobi.

Al Amin Kimathi thinks that the Kenyan anti-terrorism police have an interest in branding people as terrorists.

"They are in fierce competition with other intelligence services and under pressure to produce results," he says and stresses that the 28 year old was only questioned for a few hours, if he was indeed suspected of having a high position. But a short time after his arrest the Danish embassy confirmed that it was willing to help him get out of the country. The Kenyans therefore got rid of a potential problem.

"We were just happy to get rid of him," says the intelligence source.

The Danish Police Intelligence Sercie (PET) said that the 28 year old had close ties to al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda leaders in East Africa. But PET don't want to comment on the reports that the 28 year old is supposed to have been the intelligence head of al-Shabaab.

Source: Politiken (Danish)

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