Secret Osama files reveal Al Qaeda membership

London, May 3: A list of Al Qaeda members first discovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan has been published, disclosing the various fates of the group’s followers, The Telegraph reported Thursday.

The list, dated August 7 2002, carries the names of 170 members with Osama himself registered at number 1. Notes have been added beside many of the names, recording a variety of fates, notably that of Abu Ubaydeh al-Banshiri, who “died in Lake Victoria” in East Africa in 1996.

Another Al Qaeda member – named as Hamad al-Kuwaiti – is recorded as being “detained in England” in 1998, perhaps after the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August of that year.

Another, registered only as Khaleefah, apparently “cooperated with the Omani government” – suggesting that he defected from Al Qaeda to aid an Arab regime considered one of its foremost enemies.

Other Al Qaeda fighters seem to have given up the struggle and chosen simply to return home, the newspaper said citing the letter.

The list also provides a vivid picture of the pressures on Osama’s followers. Abdul Rauf al-Maghribi “broke down psychologically” and is recorded as betraying some of the “brothers in Saudi Arabia”.

Osama worried about Al Qaeda attacks causing “unnecessary” Muslim casualties and advised his deputies to take more care to spare civilian lives.

The Al-Qaeda chief, killed in a secret US raid May 2 last year in Abbottabad in Pakistan, underscores “the need to cancel other attacks due to the possible and unnecessary civilian casualties” in Muslim countries, according to the letter.

IANS