Osama bin Laden left US$29m for jihad in handwritten will

Osama bin Laden is shown in this file video frame grab released by the US Pentagon on May 7, 2011.
Osama bin Laden is shown in this file video frame grab released by the US Pentagon on May 7, 2011.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had millions of dollars stashed in Sudan and wanted most of it to be used to fund jihad, according to a handwritten will released on Tuesday (March 1).

The document was among a tranche of newly declassified files that were seized by Navy Seals on May 2, 2011 when they descended on Osama 's hideout in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad and killed him.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released dozens of documents, including one they said was Osama 's will that deals with monies in Sudan.

Written in Arabic on a single piece of lined paper, the signed will states Osama had about US$29 million (S$40 million) in Sudan, and that much of it had come from his brother.

"I received twelve million dollars from my brother Abu Bakir Muhammad Bin (Laden) on behalf of Bin Laden Company for Investment in Sudan," he wrote, according to the ODNI's translation of the document.

"I hope, for my brothers, sisters, and maternal aunts, to obey my will and to spend all the money that I have left in Sudan on jihad, for the sake of Allah."

Osama  sheltered in the Sudanese capital Khartoum for five years in the early 1990s. The ODNI did not immediately return a call seeking information on what happened to the purported hoard.

The documents also show a growing schism between Osama 's lieutenants and Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and said Osama was planning a worldwide media campaign for the 10th anniversary of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks.

In a letter to his father dated Aug 8, 2008, Osama wrote that he was worried about being assassinated.

"If I am to be killed, pray for me a lot and give continuous charities in my name, as I will be in great need for support to reach the permanent home," he wrote.

He also asked his dad for absolution, without saying what he might be regretting.

"I would like you to forgive me, if I have done what you did not like," he wrote.

A first tranche of documents released last May showed Osama was worried about drone strikes, and in which he laid out plans to groom a new cadre of leaders.

He also warned that conflict with regimes in the Middle East would distract the extremists from hitting hard at what as far as he was concerned is the real enemy - America.