US designates al Shabaab leaders as terrorists


On 17 November, the US Department of State designated Abdullahi Osman Mohamed and Maalim Ayman, senior leaders of al Shabaab as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs).

Abdullahi Osman Mohamed, a senior al Shabaab official also known as “Engineer Ismail,” is the terrorist group’s senior explosives expert responsible for the overall management of al-Shabaab’s explosives operations and manufacturing, the Department of State said. He is also a special adviser to the so-called “emir” of al-Shabaab and is the leader of al-Shabaab’s media wing, al-Kataib. Maalim Ayman is the leader of Jaysh Ayman, an al-Shabaab unit conducting terrorist attacks and operations in Kenya and Somalia. Ayman was responsible for preparing the January 2020 attack on Camp Simba in Manda Bay, Kenya, that killed one US military service member and two American contractors.

“Al Shabaab, which the Department of State designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and SDGT in March 2008, is one of al Qaeda’s most dangerous affiliates. It continues to threaten the peace, security, and stability of Somalia, as well as Kenya. The US Government is committed to disrupting the illicit financing methods of al-Shabaab, limiting its ability to conduct further attacks against civilians, and supporting the Federal Government of Somalia in disrupting terrorism finance. Addressing the al-Shabaab threat will require working closely with our partners to degrade the terrorist group’s capacity and operations, combatting its control and influence in East Africa,” the US state department said.

“As a result of these designations, US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Mohamed and Ayman. Their property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked. In addition, it is a crime to knowingly provide, or attempt or conspire to provide, material support or resources to al-Shabaab.”