Shabaab continues to claim deadly attacks on Kenyan Defense Forces inside Kenya despite military operations against it.
The State Department has amended the terrorist designation of Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, to include Al-Hijra, which has served as Shabaab’s “wing” in Kenya. In the past, according to the UN, Al-Hijra has played a key role in Shabaab’s planning of terrorist attacks.
The US State Department today announced a reward of up to $6 million for information leading to the whereabouts of Shabaab’s emir, Abu Ubaidah Ahmad Umar, who is loyal to al Qaeda head Ayman al Zawahiri. Five other Shabaab leaders now have rewards targeting them as well.
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In a July report warning of “new and more complex operations in Kenya,” the UN also identified an al Qaeda operative who has been entrusted by Ayman al Zawahiri to train Somalis and other African recruits. The operative, known as “Hassan,” has also reportedly trained Boko Haram fighters.
A report published by a UN Monitoring Group in July warned that Al Hijra, Shabaab’s affiliate in Kenya, was planning more complicated attacks utilizing fighters who had returned from Somalia. The report also revealed that the US has been funding the “Al-Shabaab/East Africa Al-Qaida Disruption Initiative,” which has targeted Al Hijra’s leaders.