The US Department of State is offering a reward for information that would lead to the arrest or disruption of three Al-Shabaab leaders said to be responsible for attacks in Somalia, Kenya and the neighbouring countries.
Anyone with information on any of the three could receive a reward of up to $10 million with a possibility of being relocated for safety.
While announcing the State’s Reward for Justice (SRJ) programme at the Nairobi Embassy on October 14, Deputy Head of Mission Mark Dillard said it is the first time the department is offering rewards for information on Al-Shabaab’s financial networks.
The department is seeking information on the location of Ahmed Diriye, Muhad Karate and Jehad Mostafa.
“We know that Al-Shabaab receives money through a plethora of illegal activities around the world to fund their operations, terrorising communities and killing hundreds of civilians every year,” said Mr Dillard.
The Diplomatic Security Services will administer the SRJ.
Pay-outs for information
Since its creation in 1984, the department has paid out in excess of $250 million to more than 125 people across the world who have provided information that helped resolve threats to the US national security.
Diriye has been Al-Shabaab’s emir since 2014. He was seen in a video meeting with Shabaab fighters prior to the January 2020 attack on Camp Simba in Manda Bay, Kenya.
Karate is Al-Shabaab’s second shadow deputy emir and is responsible for Amiyat, the terror group’s intelligence and security wing which oversees suicide attacks and assassinations in Somalia, Kenya and other countries in the region.
Mostapha is a US citizen and former resident of California. He has served as an instructor in Al-Shabaab training camps, a leader in the militants’ media wing and an explosive expert.
The US Ambassador to Somalia Larry Andre says that while the attack two weeks ago at the Ministry of Information in Mogadishu killed about 120 people, the good news is that the government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud is working with the state governments and local communities and making real progress in the fight against Al-Shabaab.
“Over the last several months, the government forces have liberated large parts of central Somalia from the militants. The offensive was started by local communities, fed up with Al-Shabaab’s violent extortion, involuntary recruitment and forced marriage,” said Mr Andre.