Prosecutors in California unsealed on Monday a previously secret set of criminal charges against Jehad Serwan Mostafa, a 37-year-old US native described as a long-time leading figure in al-Shabaab and put a Sh508 million reward for information on his whereabouts of the leader of al-Shabaab’s bomb-making operations.
“We believe this defendant is the highest-ranking US citizen fighting overseas with a terrorist organisation. Al-Shabaab’s reign of terror threatens US national security, our international allies and innocent civilians. Today we seek the public’s assistance in capturing Mostafa and disrupting Al-Shabaab,” said Robert Brewer, the top federal prosecutor in southern California.
Special FBI Agent Scott Brunner specifically called for the assistance of East Africans in locating Mostafa, who is believed to be based in southern Somalia.
Mostafa, who is on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list, was raised in San Diego and attended high school and college in southern California. He left San Diego in 2005 and traveled first to Yemen and then to Somalia where he took part in fighting against Ethiopian troops, Mr Brunner recounted.
“He has been working to improve the effectiveness of improvised explosive devices and has used IEDs as a tool of terror,” US authorities stated.