US imposes weapons-related sanctions on ISIL members in Somalia

The action comes as the US seeks to increase its focus on exposing and disrupting ‘terrorist’ financing networks in Africa.

Somalian al-Shabab fighters
Al-Shabab fighters sit on a truck as they patrol in 2009 in Mogadishu, Somalia [Mohamed Sheikh Nor/AP Photo]

The United States on Tuesday issued sanctions targeting ISIL in Somalia, designating members of the group and others it accused of being involved in a “terrorist weapons trafficking network” in Eastern Africa.

In a statement, the US Department of the Treasury said several of the people designated in Tuesday’s action have sold weapons to or were active al-Shabab members.

The ISIL (ISIS) group claimed responsibility for two car bombs that exploded outside the education ministry in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on  Saturday, October 29, killing at least 120 people in the deadliest blasts since a truck bomb killed more than 500 people at the same location five years ago.

Tuesday’s action comes as Washington seeks to increase focus on exposing and disrupting “terrorist” financing networks in Africa, a senior Treasury official told reporters.

While Tuesday’s move is the first from the Treasury targeting ISIL in Somalia, the official said additional action is expected in the coming weeks.

In 2018, the US Department of State designated ISIL in Somalia a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist”.

Those designated on Tuesday include Abdirahman Mohamed Omar, whom the Treasury accused of being an ISIL member in Somalia and, as of 2020, considered the most active illicit arms importer in Puntland state in Somalia.

Also targeted was Isse Mohamoud Yusuf, named as an ISIL-Somalia weapons and logistics facilitator in Bari in Puntland and an arms smuggler; Abdirahman Fahiye Isse Mohamud, who it said is an ISIS-Somalia emir; and Mohamed Ahmed Qahiye, who Treasury said is the head of the Amniyat, ISIS-Somalia’s intelligence wing, among others.

Source: Reuters