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US issues Sh669m bounty for Al-Shabaab leaders

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The US government has announced a Sh669 million cash reward for any information on four Al-Shabaab leaders.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds – AFP
The United States government has announced a Sh669 million cash reward for any information on four Al-Shabaab leaders said to be behind the terror activities.
In a statement on Friday, the US State Department said it would pay $6 million for information on Al-Shabaab leaders who threaten Kenya and the east African region’s peace and security.
The four are Al-Shabaab leader Abu Ubaidah, commander Mahad Karate, financial facilitator Fuad Mohamed Khalaf and operational planner identified as Jafar – all who have a cash bounty of between $5 million and $6 million each on their heads.
The department said that the terrorist group – which is domiciled in Somalia, continues to threaten the peace, security and the stability of the region, after it claimed responsibility for bombings and attacks against civilians both in Kenya and in Somalia.
“The department of State’s Rewards for Justice programme is offering rewards of up to $6 million for information on Al-Shabaab leaders,” the department said in a statement.

Shadow deputy leader

The department said that Mr Ubaidah, believed to be a descendant of the Dir clan, has been at the helm of the Al-Shabaab group since 2014, after he assumed the leadership role following the death of former Al-Shabaab emir Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed.
Mr Ubaidah, the department said, has since assumed leadership of the group, been responsible for organising some of the attacks conducted by the group in the recent past – threatening the stability and the peace of the region. He has a $6 million bounty (Sh669 million) on his head.
Mr Karate on the other hand, is the terror group’s shadow deputy leader, and has played a pivotal role in coordinating and executing suicide attacks and assassinations both in Kenya and in Somalia. He has a $5 million (Sh558 million) bounty on his head.
The other two, Mr Khalaf and Mr Jafar, are said to be responsible for fundraising and mobilizing funds for the group, with Mr Jafar profiled as the group’s chief of explosives responsible for operations in Mogadishu. The two each have a $5 million (Sh558 million) bounty on their heads.
The State department has urged anyone with any information on the whereabouts of the four, to pass it along either via call, text SMS, Signal, Viber, or WhatsApp.

Terrorist group

The terrorist group has been blamed for a number of attacks both in Kenya and in Somalia, leading to renewed calls by countries in the region for the arrest of its key leaders.
And while the US government and its allies, including Kenya, have continuously carried out attacks, including drone strikes on the group, its leaders and its key assets, the activities of the terrorist organization still continue to cause disharmony in the region, especially in Somalia where it had continued to carry out attacks.
In August, at least 15 members of the terrorist group were killed over the weekend in Kenya when their vehicle ran over an Improvised Explosive Device, in what the government termed as progress in eliminating the group from the region.
The 15 are said to have run over explosive devices planted by other militants from the group in Lamu County near the border with Somalia, according to a statement by the police. –