US offers $10 million reward to Somalia’s al-Shabaab

US offers $10 million reward to Somalia’s al-Shabaab


The United States announced on Monday that it is increasing its reward for information on key leaders of Somalia’s al-Shabaab to $10 million apiece, a move that follows a spate of deadly attacks by the jihadist group.

The US State Department also said it was offering, for the first time, a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to “disrupting the financial mechanisms” of the al-Qaeda affiliate.

Al-Shabaab militants have stepped up attacks in the Somali capital Mogadishu and other parts of the country amid a full-scale offensive against the group by the new government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

The US said it would offer up to $10 million each for information leading to the identification of al-Shabaab “Emir” Ahmed Diriye, deputy Mahad Karate, and Jehad Mostafa, a US citizen who played various roles in the group. led .

The US State Department classified al-Shabaab as a foreign terrorist organization in March 2008.

UN human rights chief Volker Turk said earlier Monday that more than 600 civilians had been killed in attacks by the group in the fragile Horn of Africa nation this year.

At least 121 people were killed and 333 others wounded in Mogadishu in the deadliest attack in five years in double bombings claimed by al-Shabaab on Oct. 29, the UN said, citing Somali figures.

The insurgents have been trying to overthrow the fragile, foreign-backed government in Mogadishu for about 15 years.

Al-Shabaab militants were driven out of Mogadishu by an African Union force in 2011, but the group still controls tracts of land and continues to carry out deadly attacks on civilian, political and military targets.

The US statement said that Diriye, who has been at the helm since September 2014, was designated a “global terrorist with particular designation” by the State Department in April 2015 and was subject to UN sanctions in the same year.

Karate, who was also labeled a terrorist in April 2015, continues to lead some al-Shabaab operations, the US said.

He “also retains some command responsibility over Amniyat, the group’s intelligence and security wing, which oversees suicide bombings and assassinations in Somalia, Kenya and other countries in the region, and provides logistics and support for al-Shabaab’s terrorist activities.”

Mostafa, a US citizen who once lived in California, was a military instructor at al-Shabaab training camps, as well as a leader of foreign fighters, head of the group’s media wing, facilitator with other “terrorist organizations” and a leader in the use of explosives in attacks, said the USA.

In December 2019, he was indicted in a US court on various allegations related to Al-Shabaab.

“The FBI ranks Mostafa as the top-ranking terrorist with US citizenship fighting abroad.”

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