Ahmed Umar

Alias/es: Omar Abu Ubaidaha; Sheikh Mahad Omar Abdikarim, Abu Ubaidah; Abu Diriye

Status: Active

Organisation/s: Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya; Islamic Courts; Al-Shabaab

Nationality/ies: Somali

Travel History: Unknown

Skills/Education/Occupation: Unknown

Ahmed Umar is the current leader of Al-Shabaab. Umar began his militant career in 1996 as a fighter for Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya (AIAI) and the Raskamboni Brigade. During the rise of the Islamic Courts, Umar became well known for inflicting brutal punishments against non-Muslims as a low-ranking officer. In 2007, Umar came to work closely with Aden Hashi Farah Ayro, taking over his position after his death in 2008 and becoming a confidant of Ahmed Abdi Godane. In 2013, Godane officially promoted Umar as his senior advisor, who played a pivotal role in assisting the Al-Shabaab leader purge the organisation of dissenting foreign fighters like Omar Hammami. Umar went on to lead Al-Shabaab’s Maktab division which overseas various governance, militant, security and intelligence, financial and religious affairs. Umar’s rise to the upper echelons of Al-Shabaab’s leadership suggested Godane was preparing him to lead the organisation, which eventually became a reality in September 2014.