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US hits Somalia's Shebab network with new sanctions

Washington imposes sanctions on six alleged backers of Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels in Somalia, forbidding any US business or individual from dealing with them in a bid to halt conflict in the war-torn state

AFP , Thursday 5 Jul 2012
Shebab
Al-Shabaab fighters display weapons as they conduct military exercises in northern Mogadishu, Somalia in Oct. 2010. (Photo: AP)
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The United States placed sanctions Thursday on six alleged backers of Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels in Somalia, naming them as two Eritrean government officials, a Sudanese national and three Kenyans.

The US Treasury said the sanctions, freezing any US-located assets of the six and forbidding any US business or individual from having dealings with them, were aimed at helping halt the conflict in Somalia and efforts to dismantle al-Shebab.

"The United States is determined to target those who are responsible for the ongoing bloodshed and instability in Somalia," said Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The Treasury named Eritrean colonel Tewolde Habte Negash as an intelligence officer who "funnels money to" groups opposed to Somalia's struggling transitional federal government.

"Col. Negash was the principal architect of the government of Eritrea's relationship with al-Shebab in Mogadishu in 2006, and he has been the principal coordinator of financial and logistical support to a number of armed groups, including al-Shebab, since 2004."

The other Eritrean is Col. Taeme Abraham Goitom, named as a key player in the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia, which is also fighting the transitional federal government.

A third figure is Suhayl Salim Abd-El-Rahman, also called Abu Faris, whom the Treasury said was a "Somalia-based Sudanese extremist" who aids foreign fighters that want to join up with the Shebab.

Kenyans Aboud Rogo Mohammed, an Islamic cleric; Omar Awadh Omar and Abubaker Shariff Ahmed were also named as important facilitators and recruiters for Shebab.

Omar is jailed in Uganda awaiting trial for his alleged role in the attack on World Cup fans watching a match in Kampala on July 11, 2010. Shebab claimed responsibility for the attack, which left 74 dead.

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