The United States Department of State is offering a reward of up to $7m (N2.5bn) for information leading to the arrest of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau.
The Rewards for Justice (RFJ) Program is the U.S. Department of State’s Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program, which was established by the 1984 Act to Combat International Terrorism, Public Law 98-533 (codified at 22 U.S.C. § 2708). Administered by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, RFJ’s goal is to bring international terrorists to justice and prevent acts of international terrorism against U.S. persons or property. Under this program, the Secretary of State may authorize rewards for information that leads to the arrest or conviction of anyone who plans, commits, aids, or attempts international terrorist acts against U.S. persons or property, that prevents such acts from occurring in the first place, that leads to the identification or location of a key terrorist leader, or that disrupts terrorism financing.
They released a tweet on their twitter handle on Tuesday, The tweet reads, “The United States Department of State offers a reward up to $7m for information leading to the arrest of the terrorist, Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram.
Le Département d’État des États-Unis offre une #récompense pouvant aller jusqu’à 7 millions de dollars pour des renseignements menant à l’arrestation du #terroriste Abubakar #Shekau, chef de #Boko_Haram.#Whatsapp: +1 202 975 9195#Telegram: @RFJ_Francais_bot pic.twitter.com/WPj00PPMsr
— Récompenses pour la Justice (@RFJ_Francais) March 3, 2020
Shekau has been the leader of Boko Haram since the extrajudicial killing of its former leader, Mohammed Yusuf, in 2009. The terrorist group has killed tens of thousands and displaced 2.3 million from their homes and was at one time the world’s deadliest terror group according to the Global Terrorism Index.
Boko Haram’s past targets have included suicide bombings of police buildings and the United Nations office in Abuja. Of the 2.3 million people displaced by the conflict since May 2013, at least 250,000 have left Nigeria and fled into Cameroon, Chad or Niger.
The group has carried out mass abductions including the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in April 2014 and two years ago, abducted some schoolgirls from Dapchi in Yobe State, releasing all of them except Leah Sharibu who refused to deny her Christian faith.
The government has on three separate occasions claimed to have killed Shekau but the Boko Haram leader has resurfaced on several videos to show that he is still alive.
Shekau is currently number eight on the list of the most wanted terrorists by the US.