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U.S. designates West African as terrorist

A Malian soldier patrols near the Niger River in the northern city of Gao on February 28, 2013. The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) occupied Gao for nine months before it was recaptured by French and Malian troops in a French-led offensive on January 26. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
JOEL SAGET

The U.S. is designating Mohamed Lahbous in West Africa as a specially designated global terrorist under an executive order that targets those linked to terrorism.

The State Department announced the designation Wednesday. It blocks any of his property in U.S. jurisdiction and bans U.S. citizens from engaging in any transactions that would benefit him.

Lahbous is a member of The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa. The movement was created in September 2011 after members broke off from al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in order to expand their activities into West Africa.

The department claims Lahbous is an arms and drug trafficker and has participated in a number of attacks, including the October 2011 abduction of three aid workers from a refugee camp in western Algeria.