American is believed to be a leader in Al-Shabaab

Update April 6th:  More on “the American” here.

And, he wants your kids!    We have been following the case of the missing Somali youths (former refugees) since it first came to the media’s attention back in November, but here is an unexpected turn of events in the case.

According to the AP, a man of European or Arab descent, speaking English with a North American accent, is shown on an apparent recruitment video asking for your young people to join him in the jihad in Somalia.

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A man who calls himself an American promotes holy war in Somalia in a video posted this week on an Islamic militant Web site.

A U.S. government contractor who tracks extremist propaganda says the footage is the first to show what may be an American with a senior role in al-Shabab, a Somali group the State Department considers a terrorist organization with links to al-Qaida.

The half-hour video features an amateur English-language rap soundtrack and purports to show an operation against Ethiopian troops in Somalia. It appeared on Web sites where al-Qaida and other militant groups often post messages and videos. A caption says it was filmed on July 15, 2008.

His name is Abu Mansour al-Amriki—the American.

A tall man with long dark hair and a wide smile who appears to be in his 20s and gives his nom de guerre as “Abu Mansour al-Amriki,” or “the American,” urges Muslims around the world to send their children to replace his group’s fallen fighters.

“If you can encourage more of your children, and more of your neighbors, and anyone around you to send people … to this jihad, it would be a great asset for us,” he says.

Al-Amriki speaks English with a North American accent and reads verses from the Quran in fluent classical Arabic. He appears to be of European or possibly Arab descent but it was impossible to independently confirm his nationality or where the video was filmed.

The article does mention American Adam Gadahn’s prominant role with Al-Qaida but those who have seen the film contend this is the first case of an American (he could also be a Canadian?) in a leadership role in the Jihad.

“This is the first time an American has been shown in a leadership/senior role advising/teaching a group of jihadists,” IntelCenter said in an e-mailed analysis. “This is a significant development and likely to be indicative of other developments within the group.”