UN Security Council sanctions three senior Al-Shabaab leaders


NEW YORK, USA - The United Nations Security Council [UNSC] on Friday voted unanimously to sanction three Al-Shabaab leaders, just a few days after Somalia and the US forwarded their names for designation after intelligence reports linked them to various terrorism activities.

Ambassador Erica Barks-Ruggles, who represents the State Department, hailed the United Nations Security Council for taking such a measure, arguing that the move was an important milestone towards achieving the much-needed stability in Somalia.

"The United States applauds the UNSC for sanctioning Al-Shabaab leaders Abukar Ali Adan, Maalim Ayman, and Mahad Karate, individuals responsible for numerous acts of terrorism. This is an important step towards stability, prosperity, and peace for Somalia," she noted.

At the United Nations Security Council meeting on Monday, the US and Somalia had listed the three operatives, who they wanted the United Nations to slap sanctions with, after establishing that they are linked to the terror group, which controls large swathes of rural central and southern Somalia.

Mr. Abukar Ali Aden is the deputy leader; Moallim Ayman, the commander of Jaysh Ayman; and Mahad Karate, ex-deputy leader and a powerful figure. Measures required approval of all UNSC members, but the council had first to review the list before voting.

For years, the US and Somalia have often listed names of the Al-Shabaab operatives, their financiers, and sympathizers, with many of them now designated by the US State Department. However, the designation by the UN takes a little longer due to bureaucracies that are involved.

The move comes just a month after the US withdrew troops from Somalia, who have been training the local Danab troops. Most of the soldiers were redeployed elsewhere in East Africa, the US Africa Command had said in a statement.

In a statement before the United Nations Security Council [UNSC] on Monday evening, the UN special envoy to Somalia James Swan said the group increased attacks from August 2020 to the beginning of 2021, targeting various strategic points including military bases and various hospitality industries.

"Al-Shabaab continues to pose the primary threat to the security of the country. Al-Shabaab has increased its operational tempo since August 2020, and the beginning of 2021 has seen a new peak in the number of attacks, including more Person-Borne and Vehicle-Borne IEDs, targeting government officials and key figures in Somali society," Swan said in a statement.

But the envoy noted security operations have continued to bore fruits especially in Lower Shebelle, where the group has been enjoying support for a couple of years. The military has managed to liberate several strategic towns across the region, with the US precision strikes also eliminating terrorists in Middle Jubba.

"Important military gains were made by Somali Security Forces backed by AMISOM in the Lower Shabelle region in early 2019 and again in early 2020, and these are now being consolidated to enable further progress against Al Shabaab in other areas," Swan noted. "UNSOS has remained steadfast in delivery of support to AMISOM and eligible Somali forces throughout this period, despite the complications of the COVID pandemic."


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