Wanted in Somalia: US puts bounties on top Al Shabab leaders | Christain Science Monitor
Seven of Somalia’s most senior Islamist commanders were for the first time Thursday added to the State Department’s list of terrorists with multi-million dollar bounties on their heads.
A total of $33 million could be paid out for information leading to the capture of the men, all members of the country’s Al Shabab terror group, which is linked to Al Qaeda.
They will join Al Qaeda’s overall commander, Ayman Al Zawahiri, Taliban leader Mullah Omar, and Hizbullah cell members on the list of people wanted under the US Rewards for Justice program.
It has already paid out more than $100 million to 70 different people who have provided tip-offs that led the US to locate key enemies, including Saddam Hussein’s sons Uday and Qusay.
Thursday’s move to add Somali terror suspects to the list was “politically symbolic” but would not “lead to their imminent capture,” says J. Peter Pham, director of the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington.
“You generally can’t draw a direct causal link between large awards being offered through the Rewards for Justice program and senior terrorist figures being apprehended,” he says.
“It has been helpful at finding lower level people, but in the Somali context it is a politically symbolic move that puts these men beyond the pale and in a special category where there can be no soft landing for them in the future.”
FULL ARTICLE (CS Monitor)
Photo: Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP