The US has placed a N1billion bounty on Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau

Do you want to be a billionaire? This may be your only chance…and it’s coming from the United State of America!

In an unprecedented move, the Obama-led administration is offering $US7 million (about N1.1billion) in rewards to help track Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.

The bounty is part of a $US23 million (about N3.6 billion) in rewards to help capture five leaders of militant groups accused of spreading terror in west Africa.

The highest reward of $US7 million is offered for the Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, who last week called on Islamists in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq to join the bloody fight to create an Islamic state in Nigeria.

The US State Department’s Rewards for Justice program also targeted Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), offering its first ever bounties for wanted militants in west Africa.

Up to $US5 million was posted for Al-Qaeda veteran Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the one-eyed Islamist behind the devastating attack on an Algerian gas plant in January in which 37 foreigners, including three Americans, were killed.

A further $US5 million was offered for top AQIM leader Yahya Abou Al-Hammam, reportedly involved in the 2010 murder of an elderly French hostage in Niger.

AdvertisementMalik Abou Abdelkarim, a senior fighter with AQIM, and Oumar Ould Hamaha, the spokesman for Mali’s Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), were also targeted by the rewards program, which will give up to $US3 million each for information leading to their arrests.

“AQIM has been increasingly active in north and west Africa. They’re one of the pre-eminent kidnap for ransom groups in the terrorist world right now,” a senior State Department official told AFP, asking not to be named.

“They cause us a great deal of concern.”

The United States has been increasingly worried about the spread of Islamist groups in Mali and across the vast and lawless Sahel since a military coup ousted the government in Bamako.

Former colonial power France has led a military offensive since January against the militants in Mali’s northern desert, as the west African nation prepares for presidential elections on July 28.

Source The Australian.

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