Following a leadership struggle Somali al-Qa'ida group al-Shabaab killed two of its own members – one a British citizen and the other an American with a $5m FBI bounty on his head.
Osama al Britani, a British citizen of Pakistani origin, and Omar Hammami, known as al-Amriki, are reported to have died from gunshots following an al-Shabaab raid on al Baate, a village south west of the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Local residents said the two men were shot dead during an early morning al-Shabaab raid on the fleeing militants’ hideout.
“This morning al-Amriki and his comrades were attacked by well-armed fighters,” said village resident Hussein Nur. “After a brief fight al-Amriki and his two colleagues were killed. Several of their guards escaped.”
Al-Amriki was cast out of al-Shabaab sometime in 2012, after he accused the group’s leaders of living extravagantly from the taxes taken from Somali residence. The American militant also expressed grievances that non-national members of the group were being sidelined.
Al-Amriki, originally from Alabama, was known for posting rap songs on YouTube intended to help recruit young Islamists. radicals. One of his songs included the line: “Night-by-night and day-by-day, jihadi spreading all over the place”.
The American expatriate was a prominent leader in al-Shabaab (the Somali-based cell of al-Qa'ida), helping the rebel group gain control of large swathes of southern parts of Somalia in 2012.
Al-Amriki was placed on the FBI's Most Wanted Terror list in March with a $5m (£3.16m) reward offered for information leading to his capture.
Less is known about Osama al Britani, though the Foreign Office said they were “aware of reports of the death of a British national in Somalia”.
Though pro-government forces have pushed al-Shabaab out of several key cities, the group still control many small towns and rural areas of the south, where it is said to have imposed its own strict form of Sharia law.
Al-Shabaab’s twitter account has not yet confirmed the death of either man.