U.S DoS Rewards for Justice: State Department Terrorist Designation of AQIM Operative Saleck Ould Cheikh Mohamedou
Office of the Spokesperson
December 21, 2016
The Department of State has designated Saleck Ould Cheikh Mohamedou as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign individuals determined to have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. As a result of this designation, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which Mohamedou has any interest is blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Mohamedou.
Mohamedou, an al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) operative, was sentenced to death in Mauritania in 2011 after his conviction for attempting to assassinate the Mauritanian head-of-state Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. The plot, which was foiled by the Mauritanian Army, included attacks on the French Embassy and the Mauritanian Ministry of National Defense. Mohamedou is also regarded as the mastermind of the terrorist attack that resulted in the killing of four French tourists in Mauritania in 2007. Mohamedou escaped from prison in 2015, but was captured in January 2016 and is currently incarcerated in Mauritania.
The imposition of sanctions by the United States against terrorists is a powerful tool. Today’s action notifies the U.S. public and the international community that Mohamedou has actively engaged in terrorism. Designations of terrorist individuals and groups expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and result in denial of access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover, designations can assist or complement the law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and other governments.