January 27, 2023

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Rewards for Justice – Reward Offer for Information on Maalim Ayman and Others Responsible for 2020 Attack on Manda Bay Airfield in Kenya

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
January 5, 2023

The U.S. 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 U.S. and Kenyan personnel at the Manda Bay Airfield in Kenya.

Maalim Ayman is the leader of Jaysh Ayman, an al-Shabaab unit conducting terrorist attacks and operations in Kenya and Somalia.  Ayman was responsible for preparing the January 2020 attack.  In November 2020, the Department of State designated Ayman as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended.

In the pre-dawn attack, al-Shabaab terrorists killed a U.S. soldier and two U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) contractors and wounded two other U.S. service members and a third DoD contractor.  In a video subsequently released by al-Shabaab, a spokesperson for the group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Manda Bay Airfield is part of a Kenyan Defence Forces military base utilized by U.S. armed forces to provide training and counterterrorism support to East African partners, respond to crises, and protect U.S. interests in the region.

Based in East Africa, al-Shabaab is one of al-Qaida’s most dangerous affiliates and is responsible for numerous terrorist attacks in Kenya, Somalia, and neighboring countries that have killed thousands of people, including U.S. citizens.  The terrorist group continues to plot, plan, and conspire to commit terrorist acts against the United States, U.S. interests, and foreign partners.

The Department of State designated al-Shabaab as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) in March 2008.  In April 2010, al-Shabaab was designated by the UN Security Council’s Somalia Sanctions Committee pursuant to paragraph 8 of resolution 1844 (2008).  In February 2021, Maalim Ayman was also designated by the UN Security Council’s Somalia Sanctions Committee pursuant to paragraph 8(a) of resolution 1844 (2008).

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.  All information will be kept strictly confidential.  More information about this reward offer is located on the Rewards for Justice website.

Since its inception in 1984, the program has paid in excess of $250 million to more than 125 people across the globe who provided actionable information that has helped resolve threats to U.S. national security. 

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