ShabaabPOReturnsTwitter

The Press Office of the Shabaab al-Mujahideen Movement opened a new Twitter account after its last four were suspended, and denied releasing the names of the attackers involved in the Westgate shopping mall siege in Nairobi, Kenya.

The account, which was verified by a journalist in contact with the Shabaab, and who interviewed its military spokesman, was opened on September 23, 2013. Among its first posts, the Shabaab's Press Office stated that it "did not, at any point in time, reveal any details or names about the attacker at #Westgate Mall".

The Press Office is referring to a list of 21 names given by two suspicious Twitter accounts - @HSM_PRESS2 and @HSM_PRESOFFICE2 – that identified the alleged gunmen in Westgate and an American who is part of purported upcoming operation. In the list of gunmen – all between the ages of 20 and 38 - are 6 Americans, 2 Britons, 1 Canadian, 1 Dagestani, 1 Dutchman, 1 Finn, 1 Kenyan, 2 Somalis, 3 Swedes and 2 Syrians. @HSM_PRESOFFICE2 explained that the reason it revealed the names is to "make sure their families get correct info, their sons are fighting a holy war!"

With the credibility of the suspicious Twitter accounts undermined by the Shabaab's Press Office, and the unusual nature of identifying fighters before they died in an operation, the list is questionable and most likely inauthentic.

 

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