May 12, 2011 — -- Security has been increased around the home of President Barack Obama's step-grandmother in Kenya after an African al Qaeda branch issued a personal threat against her, police said today.
Kenyan police told ABC News they are patrolling round the clock after Al Shabaab, the Somalia-based branch of al Qaeda, threatened the life of Sarah Obama.
Though security had been added to the elder Obama's house the day after bin Laden was killed in fear of reprisals, the number of patrolling officers has ballooned since Al Shabaab's threat was issued. One police chief told ABC News he now had enough officers "to patrol the entire village."
But the 88-year-old seemed unconcered 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.
Al Shabaab's threat is just one of many issued by radical organizations loyal to the late bin Laden, including one by what several U.S. officials believe to be the greatest threat to the U.S., al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. That group, based in Yemen and led by possible bin Laden successor Anwar al-Awlaki, said Wednesday America would now "wish for the days of Osama."
"Do not dismiss this battle so easily, and give your people false hope that if you kill Osama that it is over," promised Nasir al-Wahishi, a leader of the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). "What is waiting for you is far greater and more dangerous, and you will then count your regrets, wishing for the days of Osama."
Earlier this year, National Counterterrorism Center director Michael Leiter called AQAP "the most significant risk to the U.S. homeland." In March, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said AQAP was al Qaeda's most dangerous branch.