Al-Shabaab & Obama

Title: U.S. Probes Potential Obama Inauguration Threat
July 20, 2009

Abstract: U.S. authorities were investigating a potential threat, of uncertain credibility, in connection with the inauguration of president-elect Barack Obama, the U.S. Homeland Security Department said on Tuesday.

The threat concerned an unspecified incident involving the Somali Islamist insurgent group al Shabaab, authorities said.

Obama was due to be sworn in as president just before noon EST and huge crowds gathered in central Washington for the event. Security was unprecedented, with tens of thousands of U.S. troops and police.

"The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security ... and the intelligence community are coordinating with other law enforcement authorities to investigate and analyze recently received information about a potential threat on inauguration day," department spokesman Russ Knocke said.

"This information is of limited specificity and uncertain credibility," he said.

The FBI and Homeland Security Department notified law enforcement around the United States of the potential threat on Monday, authorities said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The bulletin was part of regular efforts to keep local officials aware of security developments. There was no change to the overall threat level, the department said.

A law enforcement official said the United States had been tracking the al Shabaab-related threat for several days.

The Somali group is on the U.S. list of terrorist groups. It has primarily acted in the violence-wracked Muslim East African country, but U.S. intelligence officials have recently expressed concern about young Somalis living in the United States who have gone to train with al Shabaab.

Obama's transition team had been briefed on the threat warning, Knocke said.

He said the public should continue with their plans to attend the inaugural, but be vigilant.

"Inauguration events could present an attractive target due to the large public gatherings and participation of many dignitaries," Knocke said. "Authorities are constantly reviewing security measures in light of this threat information" (Reuters, 2009).

Title: 'Obama's Grandmother Receives Death Threats From Al-Qaida'
Date: May 11, 2011
Source: Haaretz

Al-Shabaab, al-Qaida's African affiliate, threatens U.S. President's step-grandmother, prompting heightened security and 24-hour surveillance of her Kenya home, ABC News reports.

U.S. Presidnet Barack Obama's grandmother has received death threats from the African branch of al-Qaida, prompting stepped up security around her home in Kenya, ABC News reported on Thursday.

Sarah Obama, the U.S. president's step-grandmother, informed the Kenyan police that she had received a personal threat from al-Shabaab, the Somalia-based branch of al-Qaida, ABC reported.

Security personnel were sent to guard the elder Obama's home the day after her grandson announced the killing of al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden, but the personal threat has prompted increased security and round-the-clock surveillance of her Africa home, the report said.

Sarah Obama said that the security, which a police chief told ABC was enough officers "to patrol and entire village", has not been affected in any way.

"It has not restricted my movement," she reportedly added, saying "if the government has decided to bring more security personnel, we are OK with it."

Al-Shabaab, which is linked to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for twin explosions at a crowded restaurant and a rugby club in Uganda's capital Kampala during the last moments of the World Cup final last July.

The insurgent group has affiliated itself with al-Qaida since 2007, and in 2008 the United States added the group to its list of foreign terrorist organizations (Haaretz, 2011).

US Offers Bounty For Somali Militants
Date: June 7, 2012
VOA News

Abstract: The United States is offering a new set of rewards for information on the whereabouts of leaders of the Somali militant group al-Shabab. 

U.S. Rewards for al-Shabab Leaders:
1. $7 million: Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed, operational commander
2. $5 million: Ibrahim Haji Jama, key leader from Somaliland who helped form Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahidin
3. $5 million: Fuad Mohamed Khalaf, dual Swedish-Somali national who has raised funds and helped direct attacks
4. $5 million: Bashir Mohamed Mahamoud, military commander and coordinator for al-Qaida operations in Somalia

5. $5 million: Mukhtar Robow, spokesperson and spiritual leader
6. $3 million: Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi, head of intelligence
7. $3 million: Abdullahi Yare, head of media operations

-Source: U.S. Rewards for Justice program

​​The State Department announced the rewards Thursday through its Rewards for Justice program, marking the first time a specific premium has been placed on the heads of top members of al-Shabab, which the United States considers a terrorist group.

The U.S. is offering up to $7 million for al-Shabab's operational leader Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed. Separate rewards of up to $5 million each were offered for four of his top associates -- Ibrahim Haji Jama, Fuad Mohamed Khalaf, Bashir Mohamed Mahamoud, and Mukhtar Robow.

Rewards of up to $3 million were also offered for two other top members of the group, Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi and Abdullahi Yare.

Roland Marchal, a leading al-Shabab expert, said that the bounty may be aimed at weakening the organization and buying intelligence. But he adds that many of those on the list are not influential in the group's current operations.

"They are well known outside the organization," he said. "But I doubt, for the little I know, they are very influential inside."

The State Department said the group is responsible for the killing of thousands of Somali civilians, Somali peace activists, international aid workers, journalists and African Union peacekeepers.

It called al-Shabab's activities a threat to the stability of East Africa and to the national security interests of the United States.

The U.S. placed al-Shabab on its list of terrorist organizations in 2008. The militant group has been linked to terrorist attacks in Somalia and Uganda.

Al-Shabab once controlled much of Somalia and nearly all of the capital, Mogadishu, but lost most of its territory during an 18-month offensive involving African Union forces, the Somali government, Ethiopia and Kenya
(VOA News, 2012).

Title: Somali Islamists Offer 10 Camels As Bounty For Obama
Date: June 9, 2012

Abstract: The United States offers millions for information leading to the capture of the world's most wanted terrorists.

A Somali militant group has purportedly countered with an offer of camels for U.S. officials.

Al-Shabaab has placed a bounty of 10 camels for President Barack Obama and two camels for information on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

An audio statement posted on jihadist websites purportedly from Al-Shabaab jeered news that the United States is offering millions of dollars for information on seven key members of al-Shabaab through its Rewards for Justice program.

The man on the audio claimed to be Fuad Mohamed Khalaf, considered by the State Department to be Al-Shabaab's leading fundraiser. The United States has offered $5 million for information of his whereabouts.

"Whoever brings the mujahidin information about the whereabouts of infidel Obama and the lady of Bill Clinton, the woman named Hillary Clinton, I will give a reward," the man said.

A study by Galkayo University, which looked at the effects of drought on livestock, said the average cost of a camel in Somalia is $700.

CNN can not independently verify the authenticity of the audio recording, which was purportedly made by Khalaf during a speech to followers in the southern port city of Merca.

The U.S. State Department's Rewards for Justice program is offering $7 million for information on the location of Ahmed Abdi Aw-Mohamed, the founder of the Islamist group in Somalia.

This year, he and al Qaeda's leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, released a joint video formally announcing a merger between the terror groups.

In announcing the bounties on Mohamed and his key associates Thursday, the State Department called al-Shabaab "a threat to the stability of East Africa and to the national security interests of the United States."

The State Department said it is also offering up to $5 million each for information leading to the location of four of Aw-Mohamed's associates, including Khalaf. In addition, it is offering up to $3 million each for two of the terror group's other leaders (CNN, 2012)