The United States offered Wednesday to pay $5 million for information leading to those responsible for the murder of an American in Yemen in 2012, an attack claimed by Al-Qaeda.
Joel Shrum, a US citizen, was fatally shot by a gunman on the back of a motorcycle while he was on his way to work at a nongovernmental organization on March 18, 2012, in the city of Taez, according to the State Department.
At the time, the department said “We condemn this terrorist act in strongest terms” and demanded that the Yemeni authorities bring to justice anyone involved in the murder.
A statement attributed to Al-Qaeda affiliates in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack and accused Shrum of preaching Christianity in the mainly Muslim nation.
Nearly five years after the attack, the State Department announced Wednesday that it is offering “a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country of any individual who committed, conspired to commit, or aided or abetted in the commission of the murder of US citizen Joel Shrum.”
The department noted that Shrum had been an administrator and English teacher at the International Training and Development Center, “one of the longest standing international development organizations in Yemen.”
It also noted that a few days after the incident, Al-Qaeda’s Yemeni offshoot, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, claimed responsibility for the murder.
The US government considers AQAP the most active branch of the global extremist network once led by Osama bin Laden. US military operations against it have intensified in Yemen since President Donald Trump took office in late January.
The United States is concerned about AQPA’s growing presence in the impoverished African country as it takes advantage of the chaos of civil war.
In March 2015, a Saudi-led Arab coalition began an air campaign in support of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, whose authority was being challenged by Iran-backed Shiite Huthi rebels.
The conflict has left more than 7,400 people dead and 40,000 wounded, and Yemen faces a serious risk of famine, according to the United Nations.
The State Department said the $5 million bounty comes under its Rewards for Justice program, which has paid out more than $125 million since its creation in 1984.
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