Abu Ubaidah (Direye) is the leader of al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab spokesman, Ahmed Abdi aw Mohamed, announced Abu Ubaidah as the group’s leader on September 6, 2014, after the death of former al-Shabaab emir Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed (Godane). Abu Ubaidah was part of Godane’s inner circle at the time of Godane’s death. The United Nations (UN) subjected him to sanctions pursuant to paragraph 8 of UN Security Council Resolution 1844 on September 24, 2014.
He is believed to subscribe to Godane’s view that al-Shabaab is more than a Somali nationalist movement and instead is one front in al-Qaida’s global jihad.
As the emir, Abu Ubaidah is directly responsible for al-Shabaab’s activities, which continue to threaten the peace, security, and stability of Somalia and U.S. interests in the region. He is believed to be in his forties and is a member of the Dir clan from the Kismayo region of Somalia.