A man waves an Al-Shabaab flag.

A man waves an Al-Shabaab flag.

Laban Walloga/Nation Media/Gallo Images/Getty Images

  • The United States Diplomatic Security Service has offered a R170 million reward for information to help trace suspected terrorist Maalim Ayman or anyone linked to him.
  • The US wants Ayman in connection with a terrorist attack on American and Kenyan personnel at Manda Bay Airfield in Kenya three years ago.
  • The UN profiled Ayman as the founder and leader of Jaysh Ayman, an Al-Shabaab unit conducting attacks and operations in Kenya and Somalia.

The United States (US) has paid rewards of up to R4.25 billion (about US$250 million) to more than 125 people worldwide for information to help the country hunt down terrorism suspects.

The US Department of State revealed this when it offered about R170 million to anyone who can assist the United States (US) Diplomatic Security Service find suspected terrorist Maalim Ayman or anyone linked to him, in connection with a terrorist attack on American and Kenyan personnel at Manda Bay Airfield in Kenya three years ago.

The UN profiled Ayman as the founder and leader of Jaysh Ayman, an Al-Shabaab unit conducting attacks and operations in Kenya and Somalia. He allegedly helped with preparations for the 2020 attack.

A US soldier and two Department of Defense (DoD) contractors were murdered in the pre-dawn attack by Al-Shabaab militants, who also injured two other US military members and a third DoD worker.

read | US offers R720m for information leading to arrest of Al-Shabaab leaders

Al-Shabaab later issued a video in which one of its representatives claimed credit for the attack.

It was a slap in America’s face because the Manda Bay Airfield is a section of a Kenyan defense personnel military base used by American forces to support East African allies in the fight against terrorism, and safeguard American interests in the area.

In a statement, the US said:

The US Department of State’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program, which is administered by the Diplomatic Security Service, is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country of Maalim Ayman or any individual who committed , attempted, or conspired to commit, or aided or abetted in the commission of the January 5, 2020, terrorist attack on US and Kenyan personnel at the Manda Bay Airfield in Kenya.

“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,” it added.

All information will be kept strictly confidential.

The US reward program prides itself on having “paid in excess of $250 million (R4.250 billion) to more than 125 people across the globe who provided actionable information that has helped resolve threats to US national security”.


The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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