While much attention is given to the
search for Osama bin Laden, there are other terrorist masterminds on
the run, and being eagerly sought. For example, the leader of al Qaeda
in East Africa, Harun Fazul (or Fazul Abdullah Mohammed), a native of
the Comoro Island with dual citizenship in Kenya, is being hunted
aggressively. One of the most wanted terrorists in the world (the US
has put $5 million on his head), Fazul was a ringleader in the 1998
East African embassy bombings and other attacks in the region. In his
early 30s, Fazul has been a member of al Qaeda since the early '90s.
has been laying low for some time, somewhere in East Africa. Well
educated and technologically savvy, he is also apparently a "hip"
character, easily able to move among secular types. This allows him to
live under cover using false identity papers, and probably avoids the
company of obviously religious Moslems.
has apparently been spending his time building al Qaeda networks in the
region. He is active in the recruiting and movement of personnel,
leveraging ties to smugglers and pirates in the region, and probably
has some authority over al Qaeda cells in Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea,
Tanzania, and Yemen. Recent reports suggest that he is planning attacks
against Western interests and friends across region. Among places
mentioned are two well in the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles Islands and
Mauritius, particularly tempting "soft" targets.
are other possible targets in the Indian Ocean. France still owns
Reunion and of course Britain controls Diego Garcia, a major base for
the projection of Anglo-American power throughout the Indian Ocean.
These are, of course, "harder" to hit. Despite that, even a relatively
ineffective attack on either place might have great propaganda value.