Advertisement
California

FBI offers $5-million reward for former San Diego man on most wanted terrorist list

Jehad Serwan Mostafa.jpg
Jehad Serwan Mostafa
(FBI)

Federal authorities Monday announced a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of a former San Diego man believed to be the highest-ranking United States citizen fighting for a terrorist organization overseas.

Jehad Serwan Mostafa, 37, is charged in a superseding indictment with providing support to Somali-based terrorist organization Shabab, described by prosecutors as a “militant Islamic” group responsible for numerous deadly attacks on Somali government and military members in East Africa.

Mostafa is charged with criminal activities dating from 2008 to 2017, though authorities told reporters Monday that he’s believed to still be working in a central role planning Shabab’s operations against the government of Somalia.

Federal prosecutors said Mostafa was born in Wisconsin but grew up in San Diego’s Serra Mesa neighborhood and attended high school and college in San Diego.

Advertisement

In 2005, he left the country for Yemen and later Somalia, according to Scott Brunner, special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Diego division.

At some point, Mostafa joined Shabab, which has pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda and claimed responsibility for attacks that involve murder, kidnapping and the use of weapons of mass destruction, U.S. Atty. Robert Brewer said.

The group’s goal is to institute “a rigid interpretation of Sharia law” in Somalia by destabilizing the country through attacks against Ethiopian, Somali and other African Union forces, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

al shabab most wanted poster.JPG
The FBI says Jehad Serwan Mostafa is a most wanted terrorist who grew up and attended high school and college in San Diego.
(Courtesy of FBI)

Mostafa has allegedly participated in terrorist attacks, trained soldiers and acted as a media spokesman for Shabab. Video clips played during the news conference showed an apparently masked Mostafa appearing at a Somali refugee camp in which he read a statement paying tribute to Osama Bin Laden.

Advertisement

FBI Supervisory Special Agent Erin Westfall said it’s believed Mostafa is in southern Somalia, where the terrorist group’s stronghold is located, but that the public’s assistance is needed to locate his exact whereabouts.

Mostafa was originally charged in a three-count indictment in 2009, but the superseding indictment unsealed Monday expands the scope of the original charges through 2017, according to prosecutors.

Anyone with information regarding Mostafa’s whereabouts is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI or send tips online to tips.fbi.gov. Information can be provided anonymously.


Newsletter
Get our Essential California newsletter
Advertisement