For the first time, the US State Department has named two of the leaders of the islamist terrorists operating in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.
They are Bonomade Machude Omar, also known as Abu Sulafya Muhammad and as Ibn Omar, and Abu Yasir Hassan.
An announcement issued on Friday and signed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, describes Hassan as “the leader of ISIS-Mozambique” and Omar as head of “the Military and External Affairs Departments for ISIS-Mozambique”.
The terrorists are known locally as Al-Shabaab, although they seem to have no organisational ties with the Somali terrorist group of that name. The State Department, however. Has reached the conclusion that the group’s ties with the terrorist network that calls itself Islamic State, or ISIS, are strong enough to justify referring to it as a branch of ISIS.
Blinken said that Omar “Hassan Hserves as the senior commander and lead coordinator for all attacks conducted by the group in northern Mozambique, as well as the lead facilitator and communications conduit for the group”.
He added that, during the 24 March attack on the town of Palma, “Omar led one group of fighters while Abu Yasir Hassan led another group”. In particular, Omar was responsible for the attack on the Amarula Hotel, on the outskirts of Palma town. Blinken claimed that Omar ordered attacks, not only in Cabo Delgado, but also in Mtwara province in southern Tanzania.
Omar is one of five men whom Blinken designated as terrorist leaders operating in various parts of Africa. The others are Sidanag Hatta, described as “a senior leader and commander responsible for the Kidal Region in Mali within Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM)”, Salem ould Breihmatt, a JNIM senior leader and emir of Arbinda and Serma in the Mopti Region of Mali, Ali Mohamed Rage, described as the spokesperson and senior leader of the Somali Al-Shabaab, and Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, an Al-Shabaab operational planner.