News / Africa

US Posts Bounty on American Militants in Somalia

U.S. citizens Omar Shafik Hammami (R) and Jehad Serwan Mostafa are seen in undated FBI handout photos.
U.S. citizens Omar Shafik Hammami (R) and Jehad Serwan Mostafa are seen in undated FBI handout photos.
Gabe Joselow
The U.S. State Department has offered $5 million rewards for information about two American citizens who have joined ranks with the Somali militant group al-Shabab.  One of the militants is the media savvy al-Amriki, known for his recruitment videos, jihadi rap songs and Twitter battles with al-Shabab’s leadership.
 
In an undated video by Amriki, the long-haired young American man who would become the western face of al-Shabab leads what he says is an ambush on Ethiopian soldiers.
 
Born Omar Hammami, he is now better known by the moniker Abu Mansour al-Amriki - “the American.”
 
Originally from the southern U.S. state of Alabama, he moved to Somalia in 2006 and received training from the al-Qaida linked militants.
 
In the years since, he has become one of the group’s leading propagandist, appearing speaking English and Arabic in recruitment videos.  At some point along the way, he recorded a jihadi rap song.
 
Now, the U.S. State Department is offering $5 million for information that can lead to his arrest, and that of another American citizen in Somalia, Jehad Mostafa, a former resident of California.
 
In a telephone conference Thursday, U.S. Diplomatic Security official Kirk Rice said the rewards program is part of the U.S. strategy targeting al-Shabab’s Somali and foreign commanders.
 
“So we have done this before, we continue to try and get information on al-Shabab key leaders," said Rice."We try to get information on al-Shabab key recruiters and leaders of foreign fighter cadres, and we will continue to look at and try to get information on al-Shabab into the future.”
 
In recent months, al-Amriki had a very public falling out with the leadership of al-Shabab which he narrated on his Twitter feed and in his videos.
 
He expressed fear for his life, as the rift opened up between his wing of foreign fighters and that of al-Shabab chief Ahmed Godane.
 
The State Department said al-Amriki is still believed to be in Somalia. But as the group is torn apart internally, and under pressure from African Union forces on the ground, he may be seeking refuge somewhere else, according to Abdiwelli Sheikh Abdisamad, an analyst with Southlink consultants in Nairobi.
 
“I don’t think they are going to live there for long, to be honest with you, he will never live there for long," said Abdisamad. "He has to go outside of the country. He is being forced. Al-Shabab now is almost over.”
 
Al-Shabab had been on the backfoot after being driven out of the major cities across Somalia, starting with Mogadishu in 2011.
 
But the group earlier this week retook control of the town of Hudur in central Somalia, after Ethiopian troops guarding the town unexpectedly withdrew.
 
 Al-Shabab also has been blamed for a string of suicide bombings in the capital in recent months.

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid