By Julian Pecquet - 06/07/12 01:48 PM EDT
The United States is offering millions of dollars for information leading to the capture of Somali militants, the State Department announced Thursday.
The State Department bounty marks the first time al Shabaab members find themselves on the “Rewards for Justice” list. The group has ties to al Qaeda and is responsible for suicide bombings and other attacks that have killed thousands of people since the U.S.-backed invasion of Somalia by its historic foe, Ethiopia, in 2006.
“Since 2006, al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for several bombings ― including suicide attacks ― in central and northern Somalia and in the capital of Mogadishu,” the State Department said in announcing the bounty. “The group is responsible for the killing of thousands of Somali civilians, Somali peace activists, international aid workers, journalists and African Union peacekeepers. The group also has threatened terrorist attacks against U.S., Kenyan and Burundian interests in the region and has launched attacks against neighboring Uganda.”
The rewards include: up to $7 million for information leading to the location of al Shabaab founder Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed; up to $5 million each for information leading to the location of his associates Ibrahim Haji Jama, Fuad Mohamed Khalaf, Bashir Mohamed Mahamoud and Mukhtar Robow; and up to $3 million each for information leading to the location of additional al Shabaab leaders Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi and Abdullahi Yare.