Twenty-three-year old Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow has been identified as the Norwegian citizen of Somali origin involved in September’s Westgate Mall massacre in Nairobi, Kenya. Authorities believe he helped plan the attack and was one of the terrorists involved.
A relative spoke to the BBC about Dhuhulow, who was born in Somalia but moved to Norway with his family in 1999. He returned to Somalia in 2009. The relative said Dhuhulow called home frequently and the last call this summer was frantic and he wanted to return home. The relative said he must have been brainwashed, but an old neighbor, Morten Henrikson, said he did not like Norway.
“He was pretty extreme, didn’t like life in Norway… got into trouble, fights, his father was worried,” Mr Henriksen said of Dhuhulow as a teenager.
When shown the CCTV footage of the four Kenya attackers he said that the one dressed in a black shirt or jacket could be Dhuhulow.
Stig Hansen is an expert on security and political Islam in Norway and he is not surprised a Norwegian was involved in the attack.
He said that an estimated 20-30 Norwegians had gone to Somalia to sign up as fighters for the Islamist militant group al-Shabab.
“The biggest problem is the so-called ‘Generation 1.5’, those who weren’t born in Norway, but came when they were quite young, falling between two cultures,” he said.
“[Al-Shabab] need people who are quite ignorant about Somalia. That is in their interest because that will give them a more internationalist agenda. And it might also make them more dangerous when they return back to their home countries,” he added.
The group targeted Kenya in retaliation for the country sending troops in 2011 to help the Somali government push back al-Shabaab. The radical group wants to make Somalia an Islamic state.