The U.S. Treasury Department on 5 July 2012 imposed sanctions on 6 persons in Eritrea, Kenya, and Sudan for providing support to the al-Shabaab organization in Somalia. Two of the six are Eritrean officials: intelligence chief Colonel Tewolde Habte Negash and Army Colonel Taeme Abraham Goitom. The other 4 individuals are private citizens. Two of the Kenyans are under arrest in connection with the July 2010 bombing in Kampala and the third is a cleric, Aboud Rogo Mohammed.
BBC Radio asked me on 5 July to comment on the decision. I explained that the US had probably been processing these cases for months if not years. I saw nothing significant in the timing of the announcement. The Treasury Department has just finished collecting the evidence and felt comfortable announcing it. In fact, there has been little information in recent months on Eritrean support for al-Shabaab. These charges may reflect older information. The sanctions freeze any assets the individuals may have in the United States and bar Americans from doing business with them. It is unlikely that any of the 6 has any such connection with the United States.