U.S. puts bounties on al Qaeda, West African terror suspects

WASHINGTON The United States is for the first time offering rewards for tips on the whereabouts of the leaders of four West African terrorist groups.

The State Department announced on Monday that it was offering up to $23 million for information leading to the locations of top officials from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, Boko Haram and the Signed-in-Blood Battalion.

The single-biggest bounty, of up to $7 million, is for the leader of Boko Haram, a Nigeria-based group held responsible for numerous attacks in the country, including the 2011 bombing of a U.N. facility in Abuja that killed at least 23 and injured 80.

The payouts will be administered by the department's Rewards for Justice program.

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