US Offers Upto $5 Million Rewards for Information on Four African Terrorists
The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice program has offered rewards for information on four terrorists operating in western and northern Africa.
A statement by the Office of the Spokesperson of the U.S State Department said the Secretary of State has authorized rewards of up to $5 million each for information leading to the location of Khalid al-Barnawi, Hamad el Khairy, and Ahmed el Tilemsi, as well as a reward of up to $3 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Abu-Yusuf al-Muhajir.
Barnawi is reportedly a leader of the Nigeria-based terrorist group known as Ansaru, and is a former senior member of the Boko Haram terrorist organization. Ansaru originated as a faction of Boko Haram, has close ties to al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and has sought to target Westerners, including U.S. citizens.
Barnawi reportedly helped plan the May 2011 kidnapping by Ansaru of a British and an Italian engineer, who were both killed 10 months later. The Department of State named Barnawi a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on June 21, 2012.
Khairy and Tilemsi are both founding members of the terrorist group Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) and former members of AQIM.
While a member of AQIM, Khairy planned terrorist operations against Mauritania and participated in planning the December 2008 abduction of UN envoy and Canadian Ambassador Robert Fowler in Niger. Khairy has appeared in MUJWA videos threatening those who oppose the organization. In January 2012, Khairy stated that MUJWA’s goal was to “impose sharia law across the whole of West Africa.”
Tilemsi is the military leader of MUJWA. Previously, while a member of AQIM, Tilemsi played a role in the January 2011 kidnapping of two French nationals in Niger. On December 7, 2012, the U.S. Department of State placed both Khairy and Tilemsi on the U.S. Government’s list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
Abu-Yusuf al-Muhajir is an explosives expert. He is a former member of Tawhid w’al Jihad-Egypt (TWJ-Egypt), an extremist group active in the Sinai Peninsula from 2004 to 2006 and whose members re-established it in 2011.
Muhajir was involved in attack planning against a variety of targets in Egypt, including U.S. interests.
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