The al-Shabaab leader responsible for planning an attack that killed 148 Christians in Kenya was hit in a U.S. air strike Friday.
Mohamed Dulyadayn, also known as Kuno Gamadere or Mohamed Kuno, was confirmed to have been a target by the U.S. air strike, the Pentagon announced Wednesday. Though U.S. officials have yet to confirm his death, Abdirashid Janan, the security minister of Somalia’s Jubaland region, confirmed Kuno was dead in a press conference. Kuno had been a wanted man since he planned the attack which killed 148 Christian students at Garissa University in Kenya.
“We are confident that the removal from the terrorist network of this experienced al-Shabaab commander with extensive operational experience will disrupt near-term attack planning, potentially saving many innocent lives,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook.
The Garissa Massacre, as the attack has come to be known, is al-Shabaab’s deadliest attack and brought the group international attention. Terrorist gunmen stormed the Kenyan school in April 2015, singling out Christian students and executing them immediately. Kuno was quickly found to be the man behind the attack, with the Kenyan government placing a $215,000 bounty on his head.
Ironically, Kuno himself was a former school headmaster in Garissa before he took to a life of terrorism. He made his way to Somalia in 2007 while the country was still under the control of the Union of Islamic Courts. After the UIC collapsed, he joined what would become the group now known as al-Shabaab in 2010.
Reports of Kuno’s death follow a terrorist attack on a hotel by al-Shabaab in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu. The explosion resulting from the car bomb involved in the attack rocked the city for miles. Following the explosion, al-Shabaab gunmen stormed the hotel, killing 10.
Another al-Shabaab leader, Ma’alim Da’ud, was targeted by a U.S. strike Friday, however, it is unclear if the two strikes are related.
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