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US designates Daesh Somalia terrorist leader as global terrorist

July 28, 2023 at 6:03 pm

Seal of the United States Department of the Treasury in Washington, United States on October 26, 2021 [Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]

The US Treasury Department, on Thursday, imposed sanctions and designated Abdiweli Mohamed Yusuf, the leader of the Daesh terrorist organisation based in Somalia, as a global terrorist, Anadolu Agency reports.

According to the US, Yusuf has played a key role in the delivery of foreign fighters, supplies and ammunition on behalf of the terrorist group, which serves as a hub for disbursing funds and guidance to Daesh branches and networks across the African continent.

The Daesh-affiliated terrorist group in Somalia generates much of its revenue through extortion, specifically targeting local communities for money and recruits, often under the threat of violence, according to a statement issued by the Treasury Department.

“Terrorist groups, and ISIS-Somalia specifically, seek to exploit institutional vulnerabilities to finance their activities. The sanctions imposed today demonstrate the US commitment to leveraging our authorities in support of our partners, including the Federal Government of Somalia, in their efforts to counter terrorist financing and strengthen national and regional stability and security,” said Under- Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson.

READ: Suicide bombing in Somalia capital kills over 20

Nelson was in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on Thursday and met with President Hassan Sheikh Mahamud.

“They discussed Somalia-US cooperation in countering the financing of terrorism, debt relief under the HIPIC program, and the ongoing offensive against Al-Shabaab (terrorist group),” the Somalia presidency said in a separate statement.

In November last year, the US imposed sanctions on the Daesh Somalia terrorist weapons trafficking network and senior members of the terrorist group.

While, earlier this year, a US airstrike in Somalia killed Daesh leader, Suhayl Salim Abd El-Rahman, also known as Bilal Al-Sudani.

The terror group, which is active in Somalia’s mountainous Bari region, has claimed responsibility for several attacks in the Horn of Africa nation.

In 2018, the US State Department designated Daesh in Somalia as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

Somalia has been plagued by insecurity for years, with Al-Shabaab and Daesh being among the main threats.

The UN has warned of growing insecurity in the country, issuing periodic reports last year detailing attacks by Al-Shabaab and pro-Daesh terror groups.

According to UN estimates, at least 651 people were killed and 867 others were injured in Somalia terror attacks in 2018, with another 651 killed and 867 injured in 2019.

READ: US airstrike kills 5 Al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia