The US State Department allocated $18m in rewards on June 13, 2014, Friday, for the capture of Khaid al-Barnawi, the leader of Ansaru, a splinter group from Boko Haram, and three other notorious African militants. The four men are accused of kidnappings of foreigners and numerous attacks on Western targets.
* Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan (Vanguards for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa), a.k.a. Ansaru members.
The bounty on the ex Boko Haram member and Ansaru leader is $5m. The same amount was offered for each of the two founding fathers of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), based in the Maghreb (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia). A reward of $3m is being offered for an Egyptian extremist, who had plotted against the U.S.A.
* Map of most infamous Ansaru operations. Photo credit – Ryan Cummings
Ansaru has been acting separately from Boko Haram since early 2012. Its leader, al-Barnawi, has good relations with another dangerous terrorist group on the African continent, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The Nigerian terrorist group has targeted Westerners, including American citizens.
Al-Barnawi was a mastermind of the May 2011 kidnapping of two foreign engineers, from Britain and Italy. Both of them were killed 10 months later.
Ansaru was behind the abduction of seven foreigners in February 2013. The citizens of Britain, Italy, Greece and Lebanon were captured during terrorists’ raid on a construction site in Northern Nigeria. They were later executed by terrorists.
The group, along with its ‘parent’ Boko Haram, is on UN’s black list since May 22, 2014.
And the $13m allocated for…
The other official enemies of the U.S.A. include former AQIM members and MUJAO founders and leaders Ahmed el-Tilemsi ($5m) and Hamad el-Khairy ($5m).
Tilemsi was responsible for kidnapping of two French citizens in Niger (January 2011). The hostages were later killed in Mali, when France attempted to free them by force.
The second case of abduction was registered in Tindouf, Algeria, in October 2012. MUJAO negotiated prisoner swap deal and released three kidnapped Europeans in exchange for three ‘brothers-in-arms’ being jailed in Mauritania.
Khairy was reportedly behind several attacks in Mauritania, as well as the December 2008 kidnap of UN envoy and Canadian Ambassador Robert Fowler in Niger.
His list of kidnappings is added by the 2011 kidnapping of the three European aid workers in Algeria, and the April 2012 kidnappings of seven Algerian diplomats in Mali. At least one of the hostages was later killed, and three were freed.
A head or capture of the Egyptian explosives expert, Abu Yusuf al-Muhajir, is worth $3m. Abu Yusuf is an ex member of the Tawhid w’al Jihad Egypt extremist group, which operated actively in the Sinai Peninsula from 2004 to 2006 and targeted both Egyptian and American national security.