The United States government has issued a bounty of up to 10 million dollars for information on the whereabouts of Ahmed Diriye, also known as Ahmed Umar and Abu Ubaidah, a high-ranking member of the Somalia-based Al-Qaeda linked militant group Al-Shabaab.
The State Department Rewards for Justice Program issued the notice saying in a statement that Abu Ubaidah currently serves as the leader of al-Shabaab, a position he assumed following the death of the former Al-Shabaab leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane.
Abu Ubaidah was part of Godane’s inner circle at the time of Godane’s death.
The US has linked the Al-Shabaab leader to attacks in the East African region including Kenya.
“Under his leadership, AS terrorists have conducted attacks in Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, and Djibouti that have resulted in the death of hundreds of individuals,” the US State Department said on Thursday.
Prior to replacing Godane, the US said, Abu Ubaidah served in several positions within al-Shabaab, including as Godane’s assistant, the deputy governor of the Lower Juba region of Somalia in 2008, and al-Shabaab’s governor of the Bay and Bakool regions of Somalia in 2009.
Taming al-Shabaab’s growth
By 2013, he was a senior adviser to Godane, and served in al-Shabaab’s “Interior Department,” where he oversaw the group’s domestic activity.
He shares Godane’s vision for al-Shabaab’s terrorist attacks in Somalia as an element of AL-Qaeda’s greater global aspirations.
On April 21, 2015, the U.S. Department of State designated Abu Ubaidah as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order 13224, as amended.
“As a result of this designation, among other consequences, all property and interests in property of Abu Ubaidah that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Abu Ubaidah,” the US said.
The Department of State designated al-Shabaab as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist in March 2008.
In April 2010, the UN Security Council’s Somalia Sanctions Committee added al-Shabaab to the 1844 Sanctions List by pursuant to paragraph 8 of resolution 1844 (2008).