The U.S. Department of state announced a $3-million bounty on three Somali al-Shabab militants, who were linked to the Westgate mall attack last year, a move welcomed on Saturday by the Puntland Government.
A top Official of the semi-autonomous region of Somalia told reporters that it is a strong signal to the militant group and shows the commitment of the International Community in combating terrorism.
Among the three suspects is Yasin Kilwe, who is the head or Emir of al-Shabab insurgents in the Galgala mountain ranges. The group has been gathering in the Golis Mountains for the past at least four years and have several times clashed with the Puntland forces in the area, as well carried out attacks and assassinations in Bosaso and Galkayo cities.
Puntland Security Minister Hassan Osman Alore said that they are welcoming ‘’anyone’’ who is ready to help his administration on combating terrorism.
‘’ It’s not only the US who are searching for them, but also we [Puntland] are after them especially Yasin Kilwe which we are aware of where he keeps on hiding,’’ said the minister.
Mr Alore once again stressed that Puntland is ready to confront any threat from the militant group, as initial reports say they are planning to flee to the stable region for safe havens after they were pushed out of several key towns in Central and Southern Somalia.
Puntland leader Abdiweli Mohamed Ali on Saturday also said that his government has ‘’enough’’ forces to fight against al-Shabab influx, but will welcome any logistic support from the International Community.
The Department of State had on Friday authorized rewards of up to $3 million each for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, Jafar, and Yasin Kilwe.