Moktar Ali Zubeyr

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Moktar Ali Zubeyr
Mukhtaar Cali Zuubeyr
Born (1977-07-10) 10 July 1977 (age 37)[1]
Hargeisa, Somalia
Nationality Somali
Ethnicity Somali
Occupation Radical Jihadi, Terrorist, veteran of the Afghan Jihad
Title Emir (leader) of Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen[2]

Sheikh Moktar Ali Zubeyr (Somali: Mukhtaar Cali Zuubeyr, Arabic: مختار علي الزبير‎) also known as Muktar Abdirahman "Godane", Ahmad Abdi Godane, Ahmad Abdi Aw Muhammad, Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr and Muqtar Abdurahman Abu Zubeyr, is the Emir (leader) of Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, which currently is the most prominent insurgent group in Somalia. Godane, who received training and fought in Afghanistan, is designated by the United States as a terrorist.[3] He succeeded Sheikh Mukhtar Robow who had held the position for several months after Sheikh Aden Ayro's death.[4]

Early life[edit]

Muktar Abdirahman Godane was born in Hargeisa on 10 July 1977. He hails from the Isaaq clan[5] of north Somalia,[6] like Ibrahim "al-Afghani" who was another key leader in Al-Shabaab before his murder by Godane loyalists in June 2013.[3] He studied Quran in Hargeisa and won scholarships to study in Sudan and Pakistan. He led a quiet, pious life and liked to write poetry.[7]

Godane is a veteran of the Afghan Jihad.[1] While in the Somaliland region of Somalia, Godane had worked for Al-Barakat, a Somali remittance company that had been linked to terrorism.[5] Godane became involved with Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya and was implicated in October 2003 for the murder of a British couple running a school in Somaliland.[7]

Islamic Courts Union[edit]

In 2006, Godane became the secretary general of the Executive Council of the Islamic Courts Union, an organization which was then lead by Sharif Ahmed who is the previous President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia.[5]


In September 2009 Godane appeared in an Al-Shabaab video where he offered his services to Bin Laden.[8] The video appeared to be a response to a Bin Laden from March 2009 in which he urged the Somalis to overthrow the newly elected President of Somalia Sharif Ahmed.[9] In January 2010, Godane, speaking on behalf of Al-Shabaab, released a statement reiterating his support for Al-Qaeda and stated that they had "agreed to join the international jihad of al Qaeda".[10]

For his allegiance to Al-Qaeda, the U.S. government announced a $7 million bounty for information leading to Godane's capture.[7]

Tensions within Al-Shabaab[edit]

Godane and his close friend Ibrahim Haji Jama Mee'aad (aka Ibrahim Al-Afghani) both rose to prominence within Al-Shabaab at the same time but, despite their close relationship, the two men had widely divergent views on what the future of Al-Shabaab should be. This resulted in tensions within the organization and the alienation of many of Godane's oldest friends as it became apparent that Godane's agenda was transnational.[11]



General references[edit]

Preceded by
Mukhtar Robow
Amir of al-Shabaab
May 2009 – 25 December 2010
Succeeded by
Ibrahim "al-Afghani"

Preceded by
Ibrahim "al-Afghani"
Amir of al-Shabaab
December 2011 –
Succeeded by