In a further sign of the United States’ determination to help the nations of Africa combat
terrorism, millions of dollars in rewards are being offered for information on seven top leaders of the al Qaeda-linked, Somalia-based terrorist organization, Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahidin, or al-Shabaab.
The group, listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization since 2008, has control of large areas of southern and central Somalia, and is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Somali civilians, peace activists, international aid workers, journalists, and civilians, as well as African Union peacekeepers who are helping to restore stability and prosperity to the region. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes amid the fighting.
Since 2006, al-Shabaab has engaged in a campaign of violence, including bombings and suicide attacks, which has killed thousands. In July 2010, it planned and executed a bomb attack in Kampala, Uganda, that killed more than 70 people, including an American citizen.
Under the terrorist designation, the United States imposed financial and other restrictions on the group, blocking property and prohibiting U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with its members. Now for the first time, the U.S. is offering rewards for information leading to the location of seven of its leaders.
A reward of up to $7 million is being offered for information leading to the location of al-Shabaab’s founder, Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed. Thirty-five years old, he was born in Hargeysa, Somalia, and has used the aliases Muktar Abdulrahim Abusubair and Shaykh Mukhtar. He has exercised command responsibility for the group’s operations and also served as a conduit for its financing.
Rewards of up to $5 million each are offered for information on the location of aw-Mohamed’s associates Ibrahim Haji Jama, also known as Abu-Zalma; Fuad Mohamed Khalaf, a dual Somali and Swedish national also known as Fuad Songale;
Bashir Mohamed Mahamoud, an al-Shabaab military commander believed to have been born between 1979 and 1982; and Mukhtar Robow, a 43-year-old who has served as an al-Shabaab spokesman and who carries an Eritrean passport.
Rewards of up to $3 million each are offered for information on the location of two additional al-Shabaab leaders, aw-Mohamed’s deputy Abdullahi Yare and the group’s intelligence chief, Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi also known as Zaki Madobe.
The U.S. guarantees that all credible reports will be investigated and the identity of all informants will be kept confidential. If appropriate, the U.S. is prepared to protect informants by relocating them.