The US if offering a $5 million bounty for the capture of Abu Walid, former Polisario soldier, now feared ISIS-affiliated ringleader in the Sahel.
Rabat – The US State Department has put a $5 million price on the head of a former Polisario armed unit ringleader for his involvement in the death of four American soldiers, a statement from the US State Department has confirmed.
The statement comes as the US seeks justice for the October 4 2017 Tongo Tongo terrorist ambush. The ambush resulted in the death of four American and four Nigerien soldiers who were patrolling the Nigerian village as part of the US’ counterterrorism efforts in Niger and the Sahel region in general.
The US Department of State’s announcement of the $5 million bounty is part of its “Rewards for Justice” program designed for capturing and convicting terrorists. The release says the $5 million bounty is for any information that could lead to “the arrest or conviction in any country of any individual who bears responsibility” for the Tongo Tongo ambush.
Meanwhile, the US is specifically putting $5 million additionally on the head of Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, most commonly known as Abu Walid.
A former Polisario Front-affiliated “soldier” who led a unit of the separatist front’s Sahrawi People’s Liberation Army prior to pledging allegiance to Al-Qaeda and then to ISIS in May 2015. Abu Walid is believed to have been the leader of the ISIS-affiliate group responsible for the ambush of the American-Nigerien counter-terrorism patrol in the village of Tongo Tongo in Niger.
“Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi (Abu Walid) is the leader of the designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) ISIS in the Greater Sahara (also known as ISIS-GS). ISIS-GS emerged when Abu Walid and his followers split from al-Qa’ida splinter group Al-Mourabitoun,” the State Department detailed in another, Abu Walid-focused release.
He reportedly left the separatist front at the most heated period of the war in Northern Mali, joining the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in Western Africa (MUJAO), where he served as a spokesperson in the most heated period of the Malian crisis.
Since pledging allegiance to ISIS in May 2015, Abu Walid has been the mastermind of many terrorist attacks in the Sahel. “Based primarily in Mali along the Mali-Niger border, ISIS-GS has claimed responsibility for several attacks under Abu Walid’s leadership,” according to the US State Department.