April 26, 2024

OFAC designates two JNIM leaders for taking U.S. hostages in West Africa

On April 23, 2024, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Sidan ag Hitta and Jafar Dicko, two leaders of Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (“JNIM”), an al-Qa’ida-aligned terrorist group that, in 2018, was designated in the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (“FTO”) and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (“SDGT”).  According to OFAC, the two were designated for taking two U.S. persons hostage in West Africa.  Hitta, who is based in Mali, and Dicko, who is based in Burkina Faso, were previously designated by the Department of State in 2021 and 2018, respectively, under the counterterrorism authority Executive Order 13224, as amended.

The OFAC designations were imposed pursuant to EO 14078, which targets those involved in hostage-taking of U.S. nationals or the wrongful detention of U.S. nationals abroad.  As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of the designees within the United States or within the possession or control of a U.S. person are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving designated persons.  Entities owned 50 percent or more by a designated person or entity are also blocked.

Concurrent with the OFAC designations, the Department of State designated 5 JNIM leaders and 2 leaders of al-Mauabintoun, another al-Qa’ida affiliate, under EO 13224, as amended, and EO 14078.

U.S. Department of Treasury Press Release | U.S. Department of State Press Release