By Samuel Ouma
The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Maalim Ayman or any individual who committed, attempted, or conspired to commit or aided or abetted in the commission of the Manda Bay Airfield January 5, 2020, terrorist attack.
“We encourage anyone with information on those responsible for the 2020 attack on the Manda Bay Airfield to contact Rewards for Justice via Signal, Telegram, or WhatsApp at +1-202-702-7843, or via local tips lines at +254 71 87 12 366 in Kenya and +252 68 43 43 308 in Somalia,” said the U.S. Department in a statement.
Maalim Ayman is the leader of Jaysh Ayman, an al-Shabaab unit conducting terrorist attacks and operations in Kenya and Somalia. He was deemed responsible for the January 2022 pre-dawn attack.
In November 2020, the Department of State designated him as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended.
During the attack, al-Shabaab terrorists killed a U.S. soldier and two U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) contractors and wounded two other U.S. service members and a third DoD contractor.
“The Department of State designated al-Shabaab as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) in March 2008. In April 2010, al-Shabaab was designated by the U.N. Security Council’s Somalia Sanctions Committee pursuant to paragraph 8 of resolution 1844 (2008). In February 2021, Maalim Ayman was also designated by the U.N. Security Council’s Somalia Sanctions Committee pursuant to paragraph 8(a) of resolution 1844 (2008),” the statement read further.
The Manda Bay Airfield is part of a Kenyan Defence Forces military base utilized by U.S. armed forces to provide training and counterterrorism support to East African partners, respond to crises, and protect U.S. interests in the region.