Profile of Al-Shabaab linked Eritrean officials [US Treasury Dept.]

United States announced sanctions on 6 Al-Shabaab supporters on July 5. The list includes two senior Eritrean officials.

Here is the press release by the US Treasury Department.[For a round-up of news commentaries on the issue – see here.]


Treasury Targets Regional Actors Fueling Violence and Instability in Somalia


* Action Targets al-Shabaab Supporters Based in Somalia and Kenya as Well as Eritrean Officials

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated six individuals pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13536, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in Somalia.”  The individuals targeted today include Col. Tewolde Negash and Col. Taeme Goitom, two Eritrean government officials; Suhayl Salim Muhammad `Abd-el-Rahman (aka Abu-Faris), a Sudanese al-Shabaab foreign fighter facilitator; and Abubaker Shariff Ahmed, Omar Awadh Omar and Aboud Rogo Mohammed who are three Kenyan al-Shabaab supporters.   

The President issued E.O. 13536 in April 2010 to target individuals and entities engaging in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security or stability of Somalia.  Al-Shabaab was listed in the annex of E.O. 13536.  It was also previously identified in February 2008 by the State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, the U.S. government’s terrorism sanctions authority.  Previous designations under E.O. 13536 have included members of al-Shabaab, a member of the Eritrean government, and pirates that operate in Somalia and neighboring countries throughout the region.  Today’s designations of individuals based in Somalia, Kenya and Eritrea highlight the regional nature of the conflict in Somalia.

“The United States is determined to target those who are responsible for the ongoing bloodshed and instability in Somalia,” said Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Director Adam J. Szubin. “By designating these individuals today we are taking action to support our partner governments in East Africa and the African Union Mission in Somalia in their efforts to dismantle al-Shabaab.”

Col. Tewolde Habte Negash

Eritrean Intelligence Officer Col. Tewolde Habte Negash funnels money to anti-Transitional Federal Government (“TFG”) groups in Somalia, including al-Shabaab.

Col. Negash was the principal architect of the Government of Eritrea’s relationship with al-Shabaab in Mogadishu in 2006 and he has been the principal coordinator of financial and logistical support to a number of armed groups, including al-Shabaab, since 2004.  He has remained actively involved in Eritrean training of and support to foreign armed opposition groups since December 2009 and is reported to have traveled over land from Uganda, through Kenya, and on to Somalia in September 2009 where he met with members of al-Shabaab and other armed groups.

Col. Negash reportedly spent considerable time in Mogadishu for a period beginning in 2006 coordinating support to armed groups, including al-Shabaab.  He reportedly provided explosives training to another armed group in Mogadishu in 2006 and he appears to have been indirectly involved in the training of al-Shabaab fighters between 2007 and 2009 at an Eritrean training camp for instruction in suicide bombing and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices.

Col. Taeme Abraham Goitom

According to a March 2010 report issued by the UN Security Council Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee’s Monitoring Group, officials of the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (“ARS”) described Col. Goitom as a senior government official who played a direct role in decisions concerning key ARS appointments. The Asmara wing of the ARS was a component of the former rebel group Hizbul Islam, which joined al-Shabaab in December 2010.  Under Hizbul Islam, ARS-Asmara established a serious military threat against the TFG and the African Union Mission in Somalia (“AMISOM”) forces. The Asmara wing of the ARS publicly rejected the election of President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and mounted sustained operations against TFG and AMISOM forces.  Col. Goitom has also been reported to be an important arms trafficker in the region with clients such as the insurgents in Somalia.

Suhayl Salim Abd-El-Rahman aka Abu-Faris

Abu-Faris is a Somalia-based Sudanese extremist who works on behalf of al-Shabaab facilitating the travel of foreign fighters to an al-Shabaab training camp in Somalia.  Abu-Faris also facilitates financial assistance for foreign extremists in Somalia.

Since 2007, Abu-Faris has acted as a facilitator for the entry of foreign fighters and extremists into Somalia and  has advised them when travel to Somalia is possible. In 2009, Abu-Faris facilitated the travel of foreign fighters to an al-Shabaab training camp outside Kismaayo.  In 2010, Abu-Faris facilitated the travel of extremists from Chad to Somalia. Abu- Faris coordinated the travel of such persons to Somalia via Nairobi.

Aboud Rogo Mohammed

Kenya-based extremist Islamic cleric Aboud Rogo Mohammed has engaged in acts that threaten the peace, security, or stability of Somalia and provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support to al-Shabaab.  Specifically, Aboud Rogo Mohammed’s activities include fund-raising for al-Shabaab.

He continues to exert influence over extremist groups in East Africa as part of his campaign to promote violence throughout East Africa. As an ideological leader, Aboud Rogo Mohammed has used an extremist group as a pathway for radicalization and recruitment of principally Swahili-speaking Africans for "action" in Somalia. In a series of inspirational lectures between February 2009 and February 2012, Aboud Rogo repeatedly called for the violent rejection of the Somali peace process. During these lectures, Aboud Rogo Mohammed repeatedly called for the use of violence against both the United Nations and AMISOM forces in Somalia, and urged his audiences to travel to Somalia to join al-Shabaab’s fight against the Kenyan Government.

Aboud Rogo Mohammed also offers guidance on how Kenyan recruits joining al-Shabaab can evade detection by the Kenyan authorities, and which routes to follow when traveling from Mombasa, Kenya, and/or Lamu to al-Shabaab strongholds in Somalia, notably Kismaayo. He has facilitated the travel to Somalia of numerous Kenyan recruits for al-Shabaab.

In September 2008, Aboud Rogo Mohammed held a fundraising meeting in Mombasa to help finance al-Shabaab activities in Somalia.  In September 2011, Aboud Rogo Mohammed was recruiting individuals in Mombasa for travel into Somalia, presumably to conduct terrorist operations.

Omar Awadh Omar

Kenyan national Omar Awadh Omar (“Omar”) has provi
ded financial, material, logistical, or technical support for al-Shabaab.  Omar has facilitated funding to al-Shabaab and is believed to have facilitated the movement of foreign fighters and supplies into Somalia. Omar was also allegedly involved in planning the July 11, 2010 attack against fans watching a World Cup match in Kampala, Uganda.  He is currently incarcerated in Uganda awaiting trial. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for this attack, which killed 74 people.

Abubaker Shariff Ahmed aka Makaburi

Kenya-based Abubaker Shariff Ahmed is a leading facilitator and recruiter of young Kenyan Muslims for “action” in Somalia, and a close associate of Aboud Rogo Mohammed.  He provides material support to extremist groups in Kenya and elsewhere in East Africa.  Through his frequent trips to al-Shabaab strongholds in Somalia, including Kismaayo, he has been able to maintain strong ties with senior al-Shabaab members. Abubaker Shariff Ahmed is also engaged in the mobilization and management of funding for al-Shabaab.  Abubaker Shariff Ahmed has preached at mosques in Mombasa that young men should travel to Somalia, commit extremist acts, fight for al-Qa’ida, and kill U.S. citizens.  Abubaker Shariff Ahmed was arrested in late December 2010 by Kenyan authorities on suspicion of involvement in the bombing of a Nairobi bus terminal.  Abubaker Shariff Ahmed is also a leader of a Kenya-based youth organization in Mombasa with ties to al-Shabaab.  As of 2010, Abubaker Shariff Ahmed acted as recruiter and facilitator for al-Shabaab in the Majengo area of Mombasa.

Identifying Information

Tewolde Habte Negash
AKA:  Abdirahim Muse
AKA:  Tewaled Holde Nagesh
AKA:  Senay Beraki Meharen
AKA:  Amanuel Kidane
AKA:  Tewold Habte Negash
AKA:  Tewelde Habte Negash
AKA:  Bitewelde Habte Negash
AKA:  Tewaled Holde Nagash
AKA:  Wedi
AKA:  Desta
AKA:  Abdirahman Musa
AKA:  Abdirahman Muse
AKA:  Emanuel Negash
AKA:  Abdirahim Musa
AKA:  Ole Negash
DOB:  5 September 1960
POB:  Asmara, Eritrea
Passport:  Diplomatic Passport No. D0001060
Passport:  Diplomatic Passport No. D000080
Nationality: Eritrean
Position: Intelligence Officer

Taeme Abraham Goitom
AKA:  Ta’ame Abraham Selassie
AKA: Abraham Selassie Ta’ame
AKA:  Te’ame Abraham Selassie
AKA:  Te’ame Goitom
AKA:  Tesfalen
AKA:  Tsegai
AKA:  Dha’ame
AKA:  Teame
AKA:  Ta’ame
AKA:  Gaamei
AKA:  Da’ame
AKA:  Simon Gebredengel
AKA:  Te’ame Abraha Selassie
AKA:  Mekele
AKA:  Mekelle
AKA:  Meqele
DOB:  1957
Alt. DOB:  1956
POB:  Akale Guzay (Shemejena)
Passport No.:  Laissez-Passer 02154
Position:  Head of Eritrean External Intelligence Operation
Title/Rank:  Colonel
Alt. Title/Rank:  Brigadier General

Suhayl Salim Abd-El-Rahman
AKA:  Abu Faris al-Sudani
AKA:  Abu-Faris
AKA:  Haytham Zayn
AKA:  Suhayl Abdurahaman
AKA:  Sahib Muhammad
AKA:  Suhayl Salim Abd El-Rahman
AKA:  Zain Ul-Abideen
AKA:  Sundus
AKA:  Saba
AKA:  Sana
AKA:  Suhayl Salim
POB:   Rabak, Sudan
DOB:  17 June 1984
Alt. DOB: 1990
Passport #: C0004350
Personal ID #: A00710804
Aboud Rogo Mohammed
AKA:  Aboud Mohammad Rogo
AKA:  Aboud Seif Rogo
AKA:  Aboud Mohammed Rogo
AKA:  Sheikh Aboud Rogo
AKA:  Aboud Rogo Muhammad
AKA:  Aboud Rogo Mohamed
DOB #1:  11 November 1960
Alternate DOB:  11 November 1967
Alternate DOB:  11 November 1969
Alternate DOB:  1 January 1969
POB:  Kenya
Alternate POB:  Lamu Island, Kenya
Citizenship:  Kenya
Omar Awadh Omar
AKA:  Omar Sahal
AKA:  Omar Awadh
DOB:  20 September 1973
POB:  Mombasa, Kenya
Passport:  Kenya #A764712, Expires 27 March 2013
Alt. Passport:  Kenya #B002271
Alt. Passport:  East Africa #KE007776, Expires August 2009
Location:  Kenya

Abubaker Sharrif Ahmed
AKA:  Makaburi
AKA:  Sheikh Abubakar Ahmed
AKA:  Abubaker Shariff Ahmed
AKA:  Abu Makaburi Shariff
AKA:  Abubaker Shariff
AKA:  Abubakar Ahmed
DOB:  1962
DOB #2:  1967
POB:   Kenya
Citizenship:  Kenya
Alt. Address:  Majengo area, Mombasa, Kenya


Source: US Treasury Department.

Related: Key personalities and facilities of Eritrean Terrorism | UN Report.

Check the Eritrean terrorism archive for related posts.

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