Somalia: US drops former Al-Shabab leader from ‘RFJ List’

According to the VOA, The United States has removed the ex-Deputy Leader of Al Shabaab from it’s Reward for Justice (RFJ) list on Friday.

The United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansour – the former commander and spokesman for Al-Shabaab – a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) on under Executive Order 13224 on November 20, 2008.

Abu Mansour had a USD $5 million bounty placed on him for information leading to his location on June 7, 2012.

The Al-Shabaab leader dismissed the bounty at the time saying “If [the U.S. government] can harm me, I [say] now that I am here in Burhakaba town and also I can move freely in Somalia.”

The official said Robow’s removal followed consultations with the Somali government.

One of the original founders of Al-Shabaab, Sheikh Mukhtar Robow fell out with the leadership of the late emir Ahmed Abdi Godane (Mukhtar Abu Zubair) over the use of foreign fighters. The ensuing row split Al-Shabaab into two factions and eventually led to the death of American fighter Omar Hammami and the defection of Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys. It has been widely reported that Mukhtar Robow also defected to the Somali government since 2013 although this has never been confirmed by Somali authorities.

The removal follows reports that the Somali government is in talks with Robow.

An official list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons from the Office of Foreign Assets Control published on June 21, 2017, still, includes Sheikh Mukhtar Robow. The US government – through either the State Department or Treasury Department have yet to make a public statement regarding the removal.

Robow remains subject to U.S. sanctions imposed against him in November 2008 when he was identified as a “specially designated global terrorist,” but there is no longer a bounty on his head.

The list is published regularly by OFAC and includes individuals and companies tied to terrorism, drug trafficking or supporting target countries.