Any banks accounts or other financial assets belonging to the alleged leaders found in the United States must be frozen. Americans also are forbidden from conducting business transactions with them.
One of those targeted, Mukhtar Robow, is spokesman for al-Shabaab and a military commander with the group. His forces are accused of launching attacks last year on Somali government military bases as well as African Union peacekeeper in Mogadishu, the department said. He also is accused of playing a role in a deadly 2006 attack in Baidoa, Somalia.
Ahmed Abdi Aw-Mohamed, the alleged founder and leader of al-Shabaab, also was targeted. The department said he claims his group was responsible for assassination of a judge in Beledweyne, Somalia, last year. The department also alleges that he coordinated attacks on Ethiopian troops in Somalia last year.
Issa Osman Issa has served as a commander in al-Shabaab. The government said he led an assault last year against Mogadishu's Basil Hotel, often frequented by Ugandan peacekeepers.
"These terrorist commanders have had direct involvement in the kidnapping and cold-blooded murders of numerous Somali officials and civilians and they should be cut off form the world's financial system," said Adam Szubin, director of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.
The U.S. Department of State named al-Shabaab as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on February 26, 2008.
Today's action was taken pursuant to Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. Any assets these individuals hold under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the designees.
AHMED ABDI AW-MOHAMED
Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed is the founder and a current leader of al-Shabaab. He claimed his group was responsible for the May 2007 assassination of a judge in Beledweyne, Somalia, and in March 2007 he coordinated attacks on Ethiopian troops in Somalia. Aw-Mohamed has also served as a conduit for financing to al-Shabaab.
Issa Osman Issa has a leadership role in al-Shabaab and has served as a commander of al-Shabaab forces in Somalia.
In late April 2007, Issa led a militia assault against Mogadishu's Basil Hotel, which was often frequented by Ugandan peacekeepers. He also was reportedly involved in recruiting an individual to carry out a successful April 2007 suicide attack against the Ethiopian military presence in Afgooye, Somalia.
Before al-Shabaab's creation, Issa was one of the operatives who fired the surface-to-air missiles used in the failed 2002 attempt to shoot down an Israeli airliner in Mombasa, Kenya. Issa was also involved in the planning of the near-simultaneous attack in 2002 against the Paradise Hotel in Kikambala, Kenya, in which a vehicle-borne explosive device struck the hotel, killing 12 and injuring 40.
The United States action comes as calls mount to the United Nations to send peacekeepers to Somalia, as piracy off the east African nation's sprawling coast has spiraled out of control. Well-organized bandits have attacked 95 ships this year in the Gulf of Aden and hijacked 39 of them.
Eight vessels have been seized in the last two weeks alone — including a massive Saudi supertanker loaded with $100 million worth of crude oil. Treasury said its action on Thursday was not related to the piracy problem.
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