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UN Sanctions Kenyan National Over Support for Terror Groups

The United Nations Security Council said it added Abubaker Shariff Ahmed to a list of people subject to travel bans, asset freezes and targeted arms embargoes for supporting extremist groups.

Ahmed, a Kenyan national, has been a leading facilitator and recruiter of young Kenyan Muslims for militant activity in Somalia, the council said in a statement on its website. He has told male worshippers at mosques in the port city of Mombasa to travel to Somalia and commit acts of violence on behalf of al-Qaeda including killing U.S. citizens, it said.

“He provides material support to extremist groups in Kenya and elsewhere in East Africa,” the council said. “Through his frequent trips to al-Shabaab strongholds in Somalia, including Kismayo, he has been able to maintain strong ties with senior al-Shabaab members.”

Al-Shabaab, which has ties to al-Qaeda, has led an insurgency against Somalia’s UN-backed government for the past five years, and still controls swathes of territory in the south and central regions. African Union forces are targeting Kismayo, one of the last major bastions for al-Shabaab and a key source of its income, after recapturing several militia bases including the capital, Mogadishu, over the last year.

While Somalia has had no effective government for the last 20 years, the UN and U.S. have expressed optimism that the selection of a parliament this month, which is due to elect a president and speaker, will mark political progress.

Kenyan police arrested Ahmed, who is known by at least six alternate names, two years ago for his role in a grenade attack at a Kenyan bus depot that left at least three people dead.

The U.S. said last month that it had imposed sanctions on six men including Ahmed for “contributing to the conflict in Somalia.”

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