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My name is Omar Abdi. I think Kenyans deserve to know the truth about what happened.
I joined KDF in 2006 and have been posted to various missions and at the same time I was an Islamic fighter. I have also been paid to train Islamic fighters 2006 when we fought the Ethiopians for the Islamic courts union.
We were paid directly a man called Gabre Halake, he is from Eritrea. At that time we were told the money was from Eritrea government.
We were at a place called Beledweyne and we could meet a man called Indho Ade for more money and guns. These we used to fight at Jilib. We sacrificed a lot but at that point, we lost contact with Gabre Halake and Indho Ade. Only Sharif Sheikh Ahmed could meet us at that time.
We lost many fighters. Some of us foreign fighters left. I came back to Kenya together with a man named Abdi Wahid. We later learnt that Sharif Sheikh Ahmed came to Kenya and was arrested and guarded at a hotel. There is a time we visited him around late January in 2007 and he told us he would soon leave.
Abdi Wahid, and a man named Farah Eyrow were there. It was hard for me because I was in the KDF and also paid to train Islamic fighters.
Kenya was at that time viewed as sympathetic to Ethiopia. Three days later, Sharif sheikh Ahmed left Kenya to Yemen.
His release was easy because he had a lot of money and connections with senior Muslim officials in Kenya government. He was especially helped by a by powerful Muslim lawyer in Kenya who organized the money for the police and court judges. Most of this money is from pirates and most of the time it is handled by this lawyer.
From this time until early 2009 I did not take part in any more fighting in Somalia. But I was in contact with the former Islamic fighters I had met there especially Abdi Wahid. I also again met Sharif sheikh in 2009 when he was chosen as the president of the transitional government. I also met Abdurrahman Janaqow who is from Murusade clan where my wife is from. A man called Mohamed Qalaf was also there. I was requested to come back to Somalia to help set up a fighter group for the government under Hussein Isse.
When Ethiopia left Somalia, our fighting group was controlling much of the southern part of Somalia. There were several fights including outside Kenya. Some of our fighters lost their lives in Uganda in suicide missions. That’s the time Mohamud Raghe was in charge under Abu Zubeyr.
Later Raghe also commanded fighters who killed people watching football in a restaurant in Mombasa. I left Somalia and came to Kenya but went to Mombasa to live in a house owned by Abdi Wahid. In the same house was a white woman whom I later was told is Wahid’s friend. Other Muslims lived in houses within the same compound. That’s where I met a man called Habib Gani who is a bomb expert and Mussa Abdi who was killed that same year.
I left the house of Abdi in May 2011 but we kept in touch. He was traveling so much to Europe and there are times when he was arrested and released but we could talk on phone. When KDF went to fight in Somalia, I was in Kenya. I had already asked to leave KDF.
I stayed for over one year in Mombasa. Al Shabaab was paying fighters very good money for killings and for kidnappings. Most fighters were from Afmadow but some lived in Mombasa. The ones in Kenya were organized by Habib Gani who later left Kenya and went to fight in Somalia.
In May this year, I received a call from a person who said he was with me in KDF. He wanted me to help them. It was strange because KDF has so many fighters and at this time, several Islamic fighters were kidnapped and killed. So I was very careful.
I asked to meet this man at a hotel in Nairobi but I did not go. Instead asked him to meet me at another hotel nearby just near a petrol station in Koinange Street. I was at the petrol station and only went to the hotel after 10 minutes. The man told me his name is Yusuf and that he does not work for the KDF but for Kenya security intelligence. He wanted me to help them know where Abdi Wahid was.
It was every hard because the new al Shabaab leader was killing rival fighters but I knew Abdi Wahid was not a rival. It was difficult trusting anyone who knew the name of fighters. The Kenya intelligence man told me they knew about Omar Sheik and that they would find Abdi Wahid without my help, but they would pay me good money if I gave them his contacts. I gave him his Kenyan number and another he uses when in Europe.
In August this year, I came to learn that Omar Shafik was shot and killed in Somalia. I was in Mombasa at this time when Yusuf called me again and i came to Nairobi. I met him and a white woman he told me is called Nassim Halima. Nassim is a woman I had met in Wahid’s house.
She had changed so much but I could recognize her. She wanted me to meet a man called Saleh. We went to a house in Majengo. At that meeting, Saleh asked me to help them attack a big shopping building where lots of Europeans and Americans go. I initially thought this was a setup because Yusuf had told me Saleh had been working with Omar Sheik’s fighters to kidnap and kill foreigners in Mombasa.
Saleh also told me that the new commander in chief was aware and what we were going to do was to help him fight America and nothing would go wrong. He also told me that fighters from Europe and America would be used. I was to help them get vehicles and a house.
At this point, I was still very afraid because i could not believe the commander in chief would be involved and i was also not aware of any date or place of attack. During my period in KDF, I had gone to train fighters in Somalia for al Shabaab but I never heard of any communications between the leaders of al Shabaab and any senior government officials in Kenya.
I again met Yusuf that week. He came with another man who did not speak any Kiswahili. We drove around Nairobi for a while and went to Sarit Centre. We were joined by two other men who also did not speak Kiswahili. We left and went to a house nearby
It was at that time that I knew we were to attack Westgate because several pictures of Westgate were on the wall of this house. There were also pictures of al Mansoor on the wall and several verses from Quran written on the Westgate pictures. Yusuf explained how the attack would take place; several weapons were already inside Westgate.
He also said the fighters already knew the inside of the building after going through training. That evening I left with Yusuf and the three men remained in the house. I was staying at a hotel and Yusuf told me to change locations. By this time, I had been paid 5 million in cash for getting three vehicles and as part of my payment. We agreed to meet again the following week.
Yusuf never called, and his phone was off. It was almost three weeks later when another man called me and told me that I would only talk to him from that time. He said he would call again. On 20th September the same man called me using a different number and asked that we meet at Jamia Mosque in the evening. I had by now shared this with a very close friend of mine. He was a fighter though not actively because his father was a very senior man in the previous government.
That evening we met at a hotel called Jamyat near the mosque. The man did not tell me his name but said he was with intelligence and works with Yusuf. He gave me a briefcase with money and told me that if I have a family at Westgate then I should find ways of making them not go there on Saturday. He also said two other attackers and more weapons were brought in from Somalia border using a helicopter belonging to a very senior person in government. We then went with the man to Majengo where the vehicles were kept.
I gave him the keys, agreed to meet at the house near Sarit and I left. The following morning I was at the house around 10am. I found only two vehicles at the parking. I again met Yusuf and four other men and a woman who was not Somali. She made phone calls and spoke in Kikuyu. Three of these men are the same ones I had met before. Yusuf told me that I was to drive one vehicle to Westgate then drive away.
Although we had not agreed about this, I agreed. At around midday, both Yusuf and the other intelligence man were constantly talking on their phones. They seemed to be talking to people inside Westgate because they asked if things are ready at the building. Yusuf asked on phone if the important people have been removed and said it would go on even if those people are not removed because we had agreed to stick to the agreed time.
I didn’t know who these people were but I later came to know that some members of the president’s family were in the building. We left the house about twenty minutes later in two vehicles. Both Yusuf and the intelligence man were in the white car I was driving and they got off at Peponi road. The other car used the other road near the smaller nakumatt supermarket.
I drove to the front of the building and stopped and the fighters jumped off then I drove away.
That night at around midnight, someone called me to say that I should change my phone number and throw away the phone. I called Yusuf and the other intelligence man but their phones were off. I also received another call the following morning to tell me that I should not travel outside Nairobi. The person told me that the fighters had all left but the building would be blown using the other third car.
I knew he was not saying the truth because fighting was still going on at the building. Despite his warning that I don’t leave Nairobi, I left and travelled to Mombasa. Two weeks after the attack, three men came to my house and asked my wife to inform me that they were my friends and asked to see me.
They told her they would be back the following day. That evening, I told my wife to leave Mombasa and go to her sister. I also left. Four days after that, I called a man known as Mahat whom I was with in KDF, and who had also met Abdi Wahid. He told me that Abdi Wahid was in Kenya but already left for Europe. Two of his friends had been arrested at the airport but released.
I write this in good faith. If I betray someone may Allah have mercy on my soul.