© 2024
NPR News, Colorado Voices
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Al-Qaida Threatens Obama's Kenyan Step-Grandmother

Sarah Hussein Obama, 86, the grandmother of President Obama, poses in her home.
Paula Bronstein
Getty Images
Sarah Hussein Obama, 86, the grandmother of President Obama, poses in her home.

Kenyan officials have increased security around President Barack Obama's step-grandmother's house in Kogelo, after the Somali affiliate of al-Qaida issued a personal threat.

ABC News reports Kenyan police had already stepped up security around Sarah Obama's house after Osama bil Laden's killing, but after Al Shabaab issued its threat, police presence in the village has ballooned:

But the 88-year-old seemed unconcerned about the threat and told ABC News she didn't mind the extra security.

"My life has not been affected in any way," Sarah Obama said. "It has not restricted my movement. If the government has decided to bring more security personnel, we are OK with it."

Al Shabaab, which has been involved in fierce fighting in Somalia for years against the Western-backed government, counts among its members Alabama-raised Omar Hammami, also known as Abu Mansur al-Amriki or The American. Hammami, who is known to produce pro-jihadist hip hop songs, was thought to have been killed in fighting earlier this year, but reappeared by releasing a new rap song in April.

Sarah Obama is the third wife of Hussein Onyango Obama, President Obama's paternal grandfather.

This threat comes a day after one issued by Nasir al-Wahishi, the leader of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. The AFP reports that Al-Wahishi warned Americans that the death of bin Laden did not mean the "matter will be over."

"What is coming is greater and worse, and what is awaiting you is more intense and harmful," Wahishi threatened.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.