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U.S. offers bounties on terrorist groups in West Africa


08:16, June 04, 2013

WASHINGTON, June 3 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government on Monday announced rewards for information on leaders of four terrorist groups in West Africa.

According to a State Department statement, the four terrorist groups are al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA), and the groups known as the Signed-in-Blood Battalion and Boko Haram.

Up to five million U.S. dollars each are offered for AQIM leader Yahya Abu el Hammam and Signed-in-Blood Battalion leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar, said the statement, adding that three million dollars each are offered for AQIM leader Malik Abou bdelkarim and MUJWA spokesperson Oumar Ould Hamaha.

Up to seven million dollars, the biggest bounty, is offered for Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, according to the statement.

These bounties are offered by State Department's Rewards for Justice program. The program, since it started in 1984, has paid more than 125 million dollars to more than 80 people who provided information that put terrorists behind bars or prevented terrorist acts, said the State Department.

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