The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated two key al-Shabaab figures, Omar Hammami and Hassan Mahat Omar pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13536, which targets for sanctions individuals and entities engaging in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security or stability of Somalia.
As a result of today’s action, U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with today’s designees and any assets they have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen.
As one of al-Shabaab’s key figures, Hammami serves as a military tactician, recruitment strategist and financial manager for al-Shabaab. Hammami has commanded guerilla forces in combat, organized attacks and plotted strategy with al-Qa’ida. He was also involved in organizing a suicide bombing attack carried out by a Somali-American from Minnesota who traveled to Somalia to join al-Shabaab. That attack, and four others organized by Hammami and carried out in October 2008, killed more than 20 people.
Hammami, a U.S. citizen, has been indicted in U.S. District Court in Southern Alabama on a three-count indictment for allegedly providing material support, including himself as personnel, to terrorists; conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, al-Shabaab; and providing material support to al-Shabaab.
In what appeared to be an attempt to increase recruiting among Somalis, including Somali émigrés in the United States, Hammami is also featured in an al-Shabaab video in which militia members are shown training and explicitly stating their allegiance to Usama bin Laden.
He was designated today for threatening the peace and stability of Somalia, and for acting for or on behalf of and providing material support to al-Shabaab, which was listed in the Annex to E.O. 13536.
Hassan Mahat Omar
Omar is a key figure in al-Shabaab’s efforts to recruit new members and raise funds. As an ideological leader of al-Shabaab, Omar exercises leadership and decision-making authority in al-Shabaab’s internal political and operational decisions.
Omar is a key leader of a mosque in the Eastleigh section of Nairobi, Kenya, which he, along with known al-Shabaab leaders, uses to raise funds, recruit and disseminate propaganda on behalf of al-Shabaab.
Additionally, Omar is vehemently opposed to the Djibouti peace process and has issued a fatwa, or religious decree, opposing the outcome of the Djibouti peace process. Such fatwas have provided al-Shabaab with the religious justification to wage jihad against Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government.