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Sanctioning Al-Shabaab Leaders and Financiers


People stand at the entrance of a destroyed building after a deadly siege by al-Shabab militants in Mogadishu, Somalia. (File)

The United States Departments of State and Treasury announced sanctions against leaders of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group and against a network of individuals who facilitate funding the group.

Sanctioning al-Shabaab Leaders and Financiers
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In late September, the government of Somalia announced aggressive new measures aimed at crippling the ability of the al-Shabaab terror group to raise funds and to conduct militant operations.

In the spirit of this endeavor, the United States Department of State and Department of the Treasury announced sanctions against leaders of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group, and against a network of individuals who facilitate funding the group.

On October 17, the Department of State designated five al-Shabaab leaders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under Executive Order 13224, as amended.

Mohamed Mire is a senior al-Shabaab leader responsible for the group’s strategic decision-making and leads the group’s interior wing, overseeing many of the group’s activities in Somalia. Mire previously served as the chief of zakawat (religious taxation) as well as the group’s so-called “governor” of the Hiraan Region in central Somalia.

Yasir Jiis is an al-Shabaab leader and the commander of the armed wing, the Jabha, which conducts attacks.

Yusuf Ahmed Hajji Nurow, also known as Gees Ade, runs al-Shabaab’s intelligence wing, the Amniyat, which plays a key role in the execution of suicide attacks and assassinations.

Mustaf ‘Ato is a senior Amniyat official responsible for coordinating and conducting al-Shabaab attacks in Somalia and Kenya. ‘Ato is a significant external operations plotter for al-Shabaab and responsible for the 2013 Westgate attack, the 2016 Garissa University attack, and other attacks in Northeast Kenya.

Mohamoud Abdi Aden is an al-Shabaab leader. He took part in planning the 2019 attack on the DusitD2 Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, that left 22 civilians dead.

At the same time, the Treasury Department designated a network of nine al-Shabaab financial intermediaries who hold leadership roles and act as facilitators between al-Shabaab and local companies. Al-Shabaab extorts money from local businesses to the tune of $100 million annually, thus financing itself and its affiliate, al Qaida.

The nine sanctioned financiers are Abdullahi Jeeri, a weapons smuggler; Khalif Adale, who has served as al-Shabaab’s finance leader for collecting money from non-governmental organizations; Abdikarim Hussein Gagaale, a deputy within al-Shabaab’s Finance Department; Abdi Samad, an al-Shabaab militant who has been in close contact with the al-Shabaab Senior Leadership Council; Abdirahman Nurey, an intermediary between al-Shabaab and the local private sector; Mohamed Hussein Salad, Ahmed Hasan Ali Sulaiman Mataan, and Mohamed Ali Badaas who are part of an al-Shabaab smuggling and weapons trafficking network in Yemen.

Finally, the U.S. Department of State is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information on Hassan Afgooye, a key leader of al-Shabaab.

The United States “is focused on identifying and disrupting al-Shabaab’s illicit networks operating in Eastern Africa,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson. “We will continue to take action against the weapons smuggling and fundraising activities of al-Shabaab and other al-Qaida affiliates.”

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