Abu Sufyan Bin Qumu

Libyan national and former Guantanamo Bay inmate Abu Sufyan Bin Qumu is a U.S.-designated senior leader of ISIS in Libya.Paton, Callum, “Isis in Libya: Islamic State Driven out of Derna Stronghold by Al-Qaeda-linked Militia,” International Business Times, June 15, 2015. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/isis-libya-islamic-state-driven-out-derna-stronghold-by-al-qaeda-linked-militia-1506241;
“Terrorist Designations of Three Ansar Al-Shari’a Organizations and Leaders,” U.S. Department of State, January 10, 2014, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/01/219519.htm.
In the summer of 2014, Qumu became the first of Ansar al-Sharia Libya (ASL)’s leadership to pledge allegiance to ISIS and defect to the transnational terror group.Aya Elbrqawi, “Derna Cries for Help,” AllAfrica, December 1, 2014, http://allafrica.com/stories/201412020345.html. In June 2015, Qumu was captured by the Mujahedeen Shura Council in Derna (MSC), a coalition of rival Islamist groups including ASL, when they pushed ISIS from Derna.Callum Paton, “Isis in Libya: Islamic State Driven out of Derna Stronghold by Al-Qaeda-linked Militia,” International Business Times, June 15, 2015, http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/isis-libya-islamic-state-driven-out-derna-stronghold-by-al-qaeda-linked-militia-1506241. It is believed that he fled the city at some point following his capture.“Other Jihadi Actors,” Eye on ISIS in Libya, August 2, 2017, http://eyeonisisinlibya.com/other-jihadi-actors/july-24-august-1st-2017-lna-and-dmsc-clashes-escalate-aerial-assaults/. In June 2018, according to a military source, Qumu was captured by the Libyan army during a raid on one of the last extremist strongholds in Derna.Mohammed al-Arabi, “Libyan Army Arrests Former bin Laden Driver Abu Sufian bin Qumu in Derna,” Al Arabiya, June 17, 2018, https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2018/06/17/Libyan-army-arrests-former-bin-Laden-driver-Abu-Sufian-bin-Qumu-in-Derna.

Qumu founded Ansar al-Sharia Derna (ASD) in the spring of 2011 following the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.Aaron Y. Zelin, “Know Your Ansar Al-Sharia,” Foreign Policy, September 21, 2012, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/09/21/know_your_ansar_al_sharia. Although separate from the larger Ansar al-Sharia Benghazi (ASB), the two groups worked closely together. On September 11, 2012, Islamist forces attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, looting much of the mission and killing four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. In its designation of Ansar al-Sharia Derna, the U.S. Department of State asserted that Qumu’s group was “involved” in the attack.“Terrorist Designations of Three Ansar Al-Shari’a Organizations and Leaders,” U.S. Department of State, January 10, 2014, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/01/219519.htm.

Following the attack, ASD faced massive backlash within Libya and was forced to disband.Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Peter Graff, “Libyan Army Tackles Rogue Militias as Two Disband,” Reuters, September 23, 2012, http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/23/us-protests-libya-idUSBRE88M08D20120923. As part of its rebranding effort, ASB changed its name to Ansar al-Sharia Libya (ASL) and began to expand outside of Benghazi. In October 2013, Qumu founded an ASL branch in Derna, Libya.Aya Elbrqawi, “Slow Death of Derna,” AllAfrica, February 28, 2014, http://allafrica.com/stories/201403031054.html. At this time, he was also a military commander in the MSC, a coalition group comprising ASL and two other Islamist groups in Derna, the Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade and Jaysh al-Islami al-Libi.Aaron Y. Zelin, “The Rise and Decline of Ansar Al-Sharia in Libya,” Hudson Institute, April 6, 2015, http://www.hudson.org/research/11197-the-rise-and-decline-of-ansar-al-sharia-in-libya. ASL disbanded on May 28, 2017, after suffering heavy losses among both its leadership and fighters during the three-year battle for Benghazi, although some experts believe that ASL-Derna still operates in a minor capacity.“Libya's Ansar al-Sharia announces dissolution,” Al Jazeera, May 28, 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/05/libya-ansar-al-sharia-announces-dissolution-170528045219409.html.

Qumu was born in 1959 in Derna. As Qumu told the Department of Defense’s Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF), he became a private and drove tanks for the Libyan army. In the late 1980s-early 1990s, the Libyan government arrested Qumu for a host of crimes connected to an addiction to illegal drugs, including armed assault and murder. Qumu was sentenced to 10 years in prison but escaped in 1993, fleeing to Egypt. From Egypt, Qumu traveled to Afghanistan and trained in an Osama bin Laden-funded camp near the border with Pakistan.“Guantanamo Docket: JTF GTMO Assessment: Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda Bin Qumu,” New York Times, accessed April 6, 2016, http://projects.nytimes.com/guantanamo/detainees/557-abu-sufian-ibrahim-ahmed-hamuda-bin-qumu.

After training and fighting in Afghanistan, Qumu moved to Sudan where he worked as a truck driver for one of bin Laden’s companies. While in Sudan, Qumu joined the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which aims to establish an Islamic state in Libya.“Guantanamo Docket: JTF GTMO Assessment: Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda Bin Qumu,” New York Times, accessed April 6, 2016, http://projects.nytimes.com/guantanamo/detainees/557-abu-sufian-ibrahim-ahmed-hamuda-bin-qumu.

In 1997, Sudan expelled Qumu amid pressure from Libya. Qumu moved to Pakistan and joined the Taliban. In 2001, he crossed into Afghanistan and fought against the Northern Alliance. Following the collapse of the Taliban government that November, Qumu fled to Pakistan and was captured by Pakistani security forces in Peshawar. Qumu was transferred to U.S. custody and detained at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba in May 2002.“Guantanamo Docket: JTF GTMO Assessment: Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda Bin Qumu,” New York Times, accessed April 6, 2016, http://projects.nytimes.com/guantanamo/detainees/557-abu-sufian-ibrahim-ahmed-hamuda-bin-qumu.

While detained, the Libyan government informed the JTF that Qumu was “a dangerous man with no qualms about committing terrorist acts.” The JTF assessed him as an associate of Osama bin Laden, and fellow prisoners were able to identify Qumu as a member of al-Qaeda- and Taliban-linked groups.“Guantanamo Docket: JTF GTMO Assessment: Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda Bin Qumu,” New York Times, accessed April 6, 2016, http://projects.nytimes.com/guantanamo/detainees/557-abu-sufian-ibrahim-ahmed-hamuda-bin-qumu.

On August 23, 2003, the JTF recommended to retain Qumu in Department of Defense control; however, the JTF reversed its decision nearly two years later. On April 22, 2005, the JTF assessed Qumu as a “medium to high risk” to the United States and of high intelligence value. Despite this, the JTF recommended he be transferred to Libyan custody. “Guantanamo Docket: JTF GTMO Assessment: Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda Bin Qumu,” New York Times, accessed April 6, 2016, http://projects.nytimes.com/guantanamo/detainees/557-abu-sufian-ibrahim-ahmed-hamuda-bin-qumu. He was repatriated on September 28, 2007.  The following year, Qumu was released from prison as part of an amnesty program for Islamists.Rod Norland and Scott Shane, “Libyan, Once a Detainee, Is Now a U.S. Ally of Sorts,” New York Times, April 24, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/25/world/guantanamo-files-libyan-detainee-now-us-ally-of-sorts.html. By 2011, he returned to terrorism to found ASD.Aaron Y. Zelin, “Know Your Ansar Al-Sharia,” Foreign Policy, September 21, 2012, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/09/21/know_your_ansar_al_sharia.

On June 16, 2018, Qumu was reportedly arrested by the Libyan army during a raid on one of the last extremist strongholds in Derna. He was taken into custody by the Libyan military.Mohammed al-Arabi, “Libyan Army Arrests Former bin Laden Driver Abu Sufian bin Qumu in Derna,” Al Arabiya, June 17, 2018, https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2018/06/17/Libyan-army-arrests-former-bin-Laden-driver-Abu-Sufian-bin-Qumu-in-Derna.

 
United States

The U.S. Department of State designated “Sufian bin Qumu” as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) on January 10, 2014.“Terrorist Designations of Three Ansar Al-Shari’a Organizations and Leaders,” U.S. Department of State, January 10, 2014, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/01/219519.htm.

European Union

The European Union added “Sufyan bin Qumu” to its Financial Sanctions List in 2015 for his role as “leader of Ansar al-Charia Derna.”European Union Consolidated Financial Sanctions List, European Commission, February 21, 2018, https://data.europa.eu/euodp/data/dataset/consolidated-list-of-persons-groups-and-entities-subject-to-eu-financial-sanctions.

Return to Full Database

Take action:

Help Counter Extremism

Stay updated on the latest

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On June 13, 2016, convicted terrorist Larossi Abballa stabbed to death two married police officers in their home in Magnanville, France, in an attack claimed by ISIS. Abballa livestreamed the murder on Facebook and held the couple’s three-year-old son hostage before police stormed the home.

View Archive

CEP on Twitter