African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

Fazul: The making of a master terrorist

Posted by African Press International on August 4, 2008

In Summary
  • Fazul was a recluse who twice contemplated suicide but was talked out of it by his teacher.
  • He went to study medicine in Pakistan but he abandoned the medical course midway to study religion.
  • In his al-Qaeda career, he has successfully passed himself off as a Kenyan, a Somali, a Sudanese, a Moroccan, a Yemeni, and a South Asian.

Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the leader of al-Qaeda in East Africa, has tried to attack Kenya five times in the last 10 years and has succeeded twice with devastating results.

He succeeded 10 years ago this week, killing 218 Kenyans and injuring another 5000 in the Nairobi bombing.

Four years later he struck again at the Paradise Hotel, killing 13. The security services have thwarted him three times, the last time as recently as last year. In 2003 he planned to smash a hijacked plane into the new American embassy at Gigiri.(For full story see Mondays Daily Nation.)

Like Adolf Hitler, Fazul is consumed by hatred and spends his reputedly considerable talents plotting the massacre of thousands. Kenya appears to be one of his favourite targets.

If it is true that the environment in which one grows up determines ones character, then Fazul is a textbook case study.

The Comoros islands off the coast of southern Tanzania where one of the key architects of the Nairobi terrorist attack was born is a melting pot of chaos and bloodshed.

Since attaining pseudo-independence from France in 1975, the Indian Ocean archipelago has gone through 11 bloody military coups, six of them successful. Three of the eight presidents who have ruled the islands have been assassinated.

The current president, Ahmed Abdullah, is in power only courtesy of an AU peace-keeping force, notwithstanding four attempts on his life in which he escaped by a whisker.

With a life expectancy below 40 years, a newborn Comoro child enters a life paved with a thousand ways to a quick death.

In every major street in the capital, Moroni, there is an abandoned shell-shattered building, a stark reminder that life is a privilege in the country of just over 100 000 souls.

And there is a vandalised presidential palace and the tomb of the islands founding monarch to illustrate mayhem is no respecter of persons in the islands that the gods forsook.

The Sunday Nation journeyed to the Comoros, interviewed many intelligence officers, was allowed access to newly declassified documents and has reviewed many other in the public domain to build this story of the man who is Kenyas Public Enemy Number One.

According to those who grew up with him in Moroni, Fazul was a recluse who twice contemplated suicide but was talked out of it by his teacher at the Muslim madrasa, Fundi Muhammad Ali.

Apparently in later life, his fantasies changed from a wish to kill himself to killing others by the thousands. The change coincided with the coming into his life of his second mentor, a radical politician and preacher, Soidiki M Bapandza.

But the obsession to kill would be preceded by a wish to save lives when Fazul went to study medicine in Pakistan. Midway he abandoned the medical course to study religion. That, too, he abandoned midstream to take up his real calling, guerrilla warfare and terrorism.



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