US issues a USD5mn bounty for key Al-Shabaab operative

US issues a USD5mn bounty for key Al-Shabaab operative

The reward notice was issued under the State Department Rewards for Justice Program who said in a statement that Mostafa, a U.S. citizen and former resident of California, has held leadership positions with the Al-Qaeda linked jihadist group responsible for attacks in East African countries including Kenya and Somalia.

The US government said that Mostafa, 41 who is on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List, lived and graduated from college in San Diego, California, before moving to Somalia in 2005.

It is believed he participated in attacks against Ethiopian forces before joining al-Shabaab in approximately 2008.

“With al-Shabaab, Mostafa has functioned in many critical capacities, including serving as a military instructor at the group’s training camps, leading foreign fighters, operating in the group’s media wing, acting as an intermediary between al-Shabaab and other terrorist organizations, and leading the group’s use of explosives in terrorist attacks,” The US State Department Rewards for Justice said Sunday.

He is also believed to continue to play a critical role in planning operations directed against the Somali government and internationally-supported African Union forces in Somalia and East Africa.

“As a result, Mostafa continues to pose a direct threat to U.S. forces, civilians, and interests,” the State Department said.

On October 9, 2009, Mostafa was indicted in the Southern District of California on charges of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, conspiring to provide material support to al-Shabaab, and providing material support to al-Shabaab according to the State Department.

On December 2, 2019, a superseding indictment unsealed in U.S. federal court charged Mostafa with terrorism-related offenses.

In November last year, The US government issued a bounty of up to 6 million dollars for information on the whereabouts of four other key leaders linked to the Al-Shabaab terrorist group.