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Washington targets Somali militants

Publish date: 12 June 2012
Issue Number: 482
Diary: Legalbrief Africa Old
Category: African Focus

The US is to offer millions of dollars in rewards for information leading to the capture of leaders of the Somali militant group al-Shabab. BBC News reports that it is the first time the US has offered money for specific members of the group, which announced its allegiance to al-Qaeda earlier this year.

Washington has put a price of $7m on al-Shabab's founder and commander, Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamud Godane. Al-Shabab still controls much of the country but is under pressure from Ethiopian troops, pro-government militias and the African Union force, which has US and European funding. The report notes that the US added al-Shabab to its list of foreign terrorist organisations in 2008. In April, states the report, it warned that it continues to receive threats against targets within Kenya. Full BBC News report

The US will also impose travel sanctions and freeze assets of Somalis who hinder a political roadmap towards a new Constitution and President in the Horn of Africa nation, a senior State Department official said yesterday. The country faces an August deadline to achieve both targets, which are a key step towards restoring stability. A report on the News24 site notes that US Assistant Secretary of State for African affairs Johnnie Carson told a news conference in the Kenyan capital Nairobi that the sanctions would apply to members of the Transitional Federal Government as well as to people outside of it. Asked if his visit was a precursor to Washington re-opening its embassy in Mogadishu, Carson said the US would continue to monitor the progress being made before making a decision. Full report on the News24 site