US announces five additions to global terrorist list

Published August 8, 2021
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US  “is committed to disrupting the financing methods of ISIS-Mozambique, JNIM, and al-Shabaab”. — AFP/File
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US “is committed to disrupting the financing methods of ISIS-Mozambique, JNIM, and al-Shabaab”. — AFP/File

WASHINGTON: The State Department on Friday announced the addition of five alleged Islamist militants to its Specially Designated Global Terrorist list, requiring the blocking of any ownership or interests in US properties they hold.

The designations also expose to possible US sanctions individuals or foreign financial institutions who engage in certain transactions with the five.

They include Bonomade Machude Omar, the senior military commander of Islamic State’s affiliate in Mozambique, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Omar led a group of extremists who killed dozens of people in an attack on the Amarula Hotel in the town of Palma in March, Blinken said.

He also is responsible for attacks elsewhere in Mozambique and in Tanzania, Blinken said.

Sidang Hitta and Salem Ould al-Hasan, senior leaders of Mali-based Al Qaeda-linked Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin, also were designated, as were Ali Mohamed Rage and Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, leaders of the Al Shabaab group of Somalia, Blinken said. Heading the additions was Bonomade Machude Omar, the senior commander of ISIS-Mozambique, who led the deadly attack on the Amarula Hotel in the town of Palma in March, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

In the Palma assault, the jihadists reportedly beheaded residents and ransacked buildings, killing at least a dozen and displacing more than 8,000.

Omar is also responsible for other attacks in Mozambique and Tanzania, Blinken said.

Also named on the State Department’s Specially Designated Global Terrorists list were Sidan ag Hitta and Salem ould Breihmatt, senior leaders of the Mali-based Al Qaeda branch Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM).

Ali Mohamed Rage, a spokesman for extremist militant group Al-Shabaab, and Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, an operations planner for the same group, were also included.

Blinken said both had planned attacks for Al Shabaab, which Washington deemed a terrorist movement in 2008.

“I am announcing the designation of five terrorist leaders in Africa... as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs),” Blinken said in the statement.

The State Department listing will freeze any assets the individuals may have in the United States and makes it a crime to assist them.

The United States “is committed to disrupting the financing methods of ISIS-Mozambique, JNIM, and al-Shabaab... limiting their abilities to conduct further attacks against civilians,” Blinken added.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2021

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