Khalfan Khamis Mohamed
Alias/es: Elfani Hamis Ahmed, Zahran Nassor Maulid
Organisation/s: Al-Qaeda (in East Africa)
Travel History: Somalia, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, United States
Khalfan Khamis Mohamed formed part of an Al-Qaeda cell operating between Somalia and Kenya. Mohamed was dispatched to assist in training al-Itihaad al-Islamiya (AIAI) in the early 90s before becoming involved in the planning of Al-Qaeda’s first attacks in the region which mainly took place in Kenya.
Mohamed was one of numerous Al-Qaeda operatives involved in the coordinated bombings of United States (U.S) embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and his home country, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on the 7th of August 1998. Prosecutors allege he was directly involved in renting the residence where he assembled the bomb with his accomplices.
A day before the attacks, Mohamed obtained a visitors visa from the South African High Commission in Dar es Salaam using a false name and left after the explosions at the U.S embassies. Mohamed entered South Africa via Mozambique towards Cape Town where he settled and applied for asylum and was granted a temporary residence permit as he awaited the outcome of his asylum application.
By December 1998 the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a warrant for his arrest before Interpol, Washington DC, at the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), put out an international wanted notice with photographs and a description of Mohamed. It was only by August 1999 that the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Department of Home Affairs was aware of the FBI investigation.
FBI agents later identified Mohamed was resident in Cape Town while searching asylum-seekers applications with the permission of Mr Christo Terblanche, the Chief Immigration Officer of Department of Home Affairs. Mr Terblanche and his colleague only known as ‘Mr Christians’ were the first to interrogate Mohamed before he was eventually handed over to FBI agents for further questioning and extradited to the U.S. This case led to a landmark judgement of the Constitutional Court of South Africa prohibiting the State from extraditing suspects who faced the death penalty.
In 2001 Mohamed was sentenced to life without parole alongside Wadih el-Hage, Mohamed Saddiq Odeh and Mohamed Rashed Daoud al-‘Owhali.
Featured Image Source: Khalfan Khamis Mohamed