The Department of State has designated Ahmad Iman Ali and Abdifatah Abubakar Abdi as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under Section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. E.O. 13224 imposes strict sanctions on foreign persons determined to have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.
These designations seek to deny Ahmad Iman Ali and Abdifatah Abubakar Abdi the resources they need to plan and carry out terrorist attacks. Among other consequences, all of their property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them.
Ahmad Iman Ali is a prominent al-Shabaab commander who has served as the group’s leader in Kenya since 2012. He is director of the group’s Kenyan operations, which has targeted Kenyan African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops in Somalia, such as the January 2016, attack in El Adde, Somalia. Ali is also responsible for al-Shabaab propaganda targeting the Kenyan government and civilians, such as a July 2017, video in which he issues threats to Muslims serving in Kenya’s security forces. Ali has also served as an al-Shabaab recruiter, focusing on poor youth in Nairobi slums, and has fundraised at mosques to support al-Shabaab activities.
In 2015, Abdifatah Abubakar Abdi was placed on the Kenyan government’s wanted list of terrorists known or suspected to be members of al-Shabaab. Abdi is wanted in connection with the June 2014, attack in Mpeketoni, Kenya that claimed more than 50 lives.
Terrorism designations expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and deny them access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover, designations can assist the law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and other governments. In addition to being designated today by the Secretary of State, Ahmad Iman Ali and Abdifatah Abubakar Abdi have also been listed at the United Nation’s Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea.