UPDATE 3-U.S. targets weapons trafficking with sanctions on Islamic State in Somalia

(Adds Ned Price quote)

By Daphne Psaledakis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States imposed sanctions on the Islamic State group in Somalia on Tuesday, November 1, designating members of the group and others accused of involvement in a “terrorist arms trafficking network” in East Africa.

The US Treasury Department said in a statement that several of the individuals targeted in Tuesday’s operation had sold weapons or were active members of al-Shabaab.

An al Qaeda-linked Islamist group claimed responsibility for two car bombs that killed at least 120 people near the education ministry building in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday, five years after a truck bombing at the same site killed more than 500. in the place. before

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Tuesday’s actions come as Washington seeks to increase its focus on identifying and disrupting terror financing networks in Africa, a senior Treasury official told reporters.

While Tuesday’s Treasury action is the first step against the Islamic State in Somalia, the official said additional actions are expected in the coming weeks and months as the United States seeks to identify and disrupt terror financing in Africa.

In 2018, the US State Department designated the “Islamic State” in Somalia as a designated global terrorist.

The Treasury Department said Islamic State in Somalia “routinely cooperates with other terrorist organizations” such as al-Shabaab and Somali pirates and smuggling groups.

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“Many of the individuals involved are also involved in other illegal activities, including piracy and environmental crimes, demonstrating their integration into criminal networks operating in the region,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a separate statement.

Among those appointed on Tuesday is Abdirahman Mohamed Omar, who Treasury has accused of being a member of Daesh-Somalia and as of 2020 is believed to be the most active illegal arms importer in Somalia’s Puntland state.

Also designated is Isse Mohamud Yusuf, who Treasury says is an arms and logistics facilitator for ISIS-Somalia in Bari, Puntland, and an arms smuggler. Abdirahman Fahie Ise Mohamud, who is said to be the Emir of ISIS-Somalia; and Mohamed Ahmed Kahiyeh, who the Treasury says is, among others, the head of al-Shabaab’s intelligence wing, Amniyat.

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The move freezes any of their US assets and bans Americans from doing business with them altogether. Those who engage in certain transactions with those appointed on Tuesday will also face sanctions.

On Tuesday, the Treasury also identified a key supporter of Islamic State in Brazil, accusing Osama Abdelmong’s Abdallah Bakr of trying to act as a liaison for the group. (Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Susan Heavey; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, William McLane and Mark Porter)

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