Somalia sets $500 bounty on al Qaeda-linked rebels

MOGADISHU Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:42am EDT

An African Union soldier sits behind sand bags during fighting against al Shabaab militants in the district of Daynile, south of capital Mogadishu March 30, 2012. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

An African Union soldier sits behind sand bags during fighting against al Shabaab militants in the district of Daynile, south of capital Mogadishu March 30, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Feisal Omar

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MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somalia has set a $500 award for anyone who captures or kills a militant from the al Qaeda-linked militant group of al Shabaab which has been attacking government and African Union peacekeepers in the capital Mogadishu.

"Now, consider that every al Shabaab is just like a commodity that will earn you cash," Mogadishu mayor Mohamud Ahmed Nur was quoted as saying in a government statement.

Addressing Mogadishu residents on Wednesday, Nur said the government would offer $500 for every "captured or killed terrorist", according to the statement.

Islamist militants withdrew from the capital in August but continued to launch deadly guerilla-style attacks against Somali and African Union troops.

Kenyan and Ethiopian forces are also battling al Shabaab militants from entrenched positions in the southern and central parts of the lawless Horn of Africa country.

The cash reward is likely to appeal to many Somalis in an impoverished country where hundreds of thousands of Somalis were left on the brink of starvation following last year's famine.

(Writing by Yara Bayoumy Editing by Maria Golovnina)

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