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At the time, AQEA was indistinguishable from al-Qa'ida Core.
The remaining AQEA cell was then led by and composed almost exclusively of nationals from East Africa and the Horn.
It was this leaner, more local AQEA team that planned and carried out the next round of terrorist attacks in Kenya.
Among the most popular and charismatic of the emerging activists were sheikhs Abdul Aziz Rimo, Aboud Rogo, and Abubakar Shariff Ahmed 'Makaburi.' (37) The followers of these men included the future leaders of the Kenyan jihadi group that would become known as al-Hijra, as well as several key members of AQEA. In 1996 and 1997, Rogo's madrassa regularly hosted meetings of young militants, including Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, Haruni Bamusa, Fumo Mohamed Fumo, and Ahmed Salim Swedan.
First, there has long been some amount of "dual-hatting," meaning that AQEA members have, on an individual basis, taken on important roles within al-Shabaab's leadership structure.
(45) "Welcome to AQEA (Al-Qa'ida East Africa)," Muslim Youth Center, February 10, 2012.
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