Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan
Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan (April 1960 or 1969 – January 1, 2009) was a fugitive wanted in the United States as a participant in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings. He was alleged to have purchased the Toyota and Nissan trucks used in the attacks, flying out of Nairobi to Karachi, Pakistan five days before the assault was launched. Swedan was on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list since its inception in October 2001. He was born in Mombasa, Kenya.
The UN 1267 Committee referred to him as Ahmed Salim Swedan Sheikh. Sheikh may have been either an Arabic surname or a title (before the name), and although it is unclear why this person would have had such a title, he was also known as Sheikh Ahmad Salem Suweidan, Sheikh Ahmed Salem Swedan, Sheikh Swedan, Sheikh Bahamadi, Ahmed Ally, Bahamad, Sheik Bahamad, Ahmed the Tall and Abu Yahya al-Kini.
Swedan had, in the past, managed a trucking business in Kenya.
Swedan purchased a beige Toyota Dyna truck in Nairobi, and a 1987 Nissan Atlas refrigeration truck in Dar es-Salaam. Six metal bars were used to form a "cage" on the back of the Atlas, to accommodate the bomb.
Rumors of capture
As the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approached, a few unsubstantiated reports came out of Pakistan that various wanted al-Qaeda suspects had been captured in that country and handed over to the Americans without any legal process.
On July 12, 2002 a police intelligence officer in Karachi reported that Pakistani authorities had arrested Sheikh Ahmed Saleem, referring to him as an alleged financial advisor of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. He was reportedly caught along with two other al Qaeda militants. The officer further misidentified Saleem as a Sudan national, who had apparently fled Afghanistan for Pakistan after the US-led military campaign began in October 2001. The three militants were arrested together during an overnight raid on a suburban apartment in the commercial port city of Karachi.
However, it later was suggested that Pakistani news organizations and the officials may have confused Ahmed Salim, the FBI-wanted Kenyan who had run a trucking business, with a Sudanese man with a similar name, Mamdouh Salim. In fact Mamdouh Salim had already been captured in 1998 in Germany.
But then on September 9, 2002, the Lahore-based Daily Times once again reported that Ahmed Salim had indeed been arrested earlier that summer, on July 11, 2002, in Methadar, an area very close to the place from where Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was also arrested a month earlier, according to the paper. But KSM was actually captured a year later.
On September 11, 2002, journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad of the Asia Times wrote that back in July 2002, Pakistani intelligence agents were led to Salim's cell by satellite telephone intercepts provided by the FBI. These led to the arrest in Karachi of a more junior al-Qaeda figure, a Saudi known only as Riyadh or Riaz. Riyadh in turn led investigators to Salim, who was arrested in Kharadar in the south of the city. Amnesty International quoted two more press claims that Swedan had been arrested in July 2002, and transferred to US custody. All these claims were unsubstantiated.
On July 6, 2007, Swedan was listed as a possible CIA "Secret Prisoner" by Amnesty International, without giving any reason or evidence, and despite the fact he remained on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist list as of the published date (July 6, 2007).
- Copy of indictment USA v. Usama bin Laden et al., Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies
- Swedan profile at Rewards For Justice, US Department of State
- Swedan profile at FBI, US Department of Justice
- Current FBI Most Wanted Terrorists page
- UN list of affiliates of al-Qaeda and the Taliban
- Benjamin, Daniel & Steven Simon. "The Age of Sacred Terror", 2002
- Most wanted Al Qaeda suspects arrested from Karachi?, Daily Times (of Pakistan), 9 September 2002
- (section) Arrest and transfer to US custody of Sheikh Ahmed Salim and several others in July 2002, Amnesty International, 1 November 2002
- USA: Off the Record. U.S. Responsibility for Enforced Disappearances in the "War on Terror" | Amnesty International
- Warrick, Joby (January 9, 2009). "Jan. 1 Attack By CIA Killed Two Leaders Of Al-Qaeda". The Washington Post.
- "Two Top Al Qaeda Terrorists Killed in Missile Attack". Fox News. November 30, 2011.