US designates 5 African Muslim leaders as terrorists

It means that all property and interests in property of these individuals must be blocked and reported to the US government. Also, anybody engaging with them could be exposed to the same designation

THC Bureau |

Anthony Blinken

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (Photo courtesy: Wikimedia)

The US government has designated five leaders in Africa as terrorists. Bonomade Machude Omar, Sidan ag Hitta, Salem ould Breihmatt, Ali Mohamed Rage, and Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir are designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under an executive order, Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken said.

Omar, also known as Abu Sulayfa Muhammad and Ibn Omar, leads the Military and External Affairs Departments for ISIS-Mozambique and serves as the senior commander and lead coordinator for all attacks conducted by the group in northern Mozambique, Blinken said, adding that Omar is also the lead facilitator and communications conduit for the group.

During the March 2021 attack on Palma, Omar led one group of fighters, while Abu Yasir Hassan, the leader of ISIS-Mozambique, led another group of fighters. Omar also led the attack on the Amarula Hotel in Palma. Omar has been responsible for attacks in Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique, and Mtwara Region, Tanzania, Blinken said.

Sidanag Hitta, also known as Abu Qarwaniand Abu Abdelhakim al-Kidali, is a senior leader and commander responsible for the Kidal Region in Mali within Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM). Hitta was among the group responsible for the January 20, 2019, attack on the Minusma base in Aguelhoc, Kidal Region, Mali. He was also responsible for hostages in the Kidal Region, Blinken said.

Breihmatt, also known as Abu Hamza al-Shanqitiand Hamza al-Mauritani, is a JNIM senior leader and emir of Arbinda and Serma in the Mopti Region of Mali. He is also charged with the oversight of JNIM in Burkina Faso and is an explosives expert and instructor.

Rage, also known as Ali Dheere, is al-Shabaab’s spokesman and a senior leader of the group. He replaced Sheikh Mukhtar Robowas al-Shabaab’s top spokesman in May 2009. Rage has been involved in attack planning that has targeted areas in Kenya and Somalia.

Abdikadir, also known as Ikrima, is a facilitator and operational planner. As of November 2019, Abdikadirwas, an al-Shabaab senior leader, served as the Head of Operations and Logistics.  Abdikadir had also directed previous attack planning for al-Shabaab.

The announcement means that, among other consequences, all property and interests in property of these individuals must be blocked and reported to the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) , Blinken said.

In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the persons designated today may themselves be exposed to designation. Furthermore, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant financial transaction or provides significant financial services for the persons designated today could be subject to US correspondent account or payable-through account sanctions.

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