On the tenth anniversary of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, the United States on Monday offered a reward of $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any individual who was involved in planning or facilitating the assault.
“It is an affront to the families of the victims that, after ten years, those who planned the Mumbai attack have still not been convicted for their involvement,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. “We call upon all countries, particularly Pakistan, to uphold their UN Security Council obligations to implement sanctions against the terrorists responsible for this atrocity, including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and its affiliates.”
“We stand with the families and friends of the victims, whose loved ones were lost in this act of barbarism, including six American citizens. The barbarity of 26/11 shocked the entire world,” he said, expressing solidarity with the survivors of the attack. The United States, Pompeo said, is committed to seeing that those responsible for the attack face justice.
A total of 166 people, including the six American nationals, were killed after 10 Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists unleashed a wave of violence in Mumbai in 2008 targeting locations like train terminus Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, the Oberoi Hotel and other locations. Nine of the attackers were killed by security forces, while Ajmal Kasab – the lone terrorist to be captured alive by the Mumbai police – was hanged after he was handed the death sentence by a court.
The announcement was the third such cash reward made available by the Department of State Rewards for Justice (RFJ) Program. “The United States is committed to working with our international partners to identify and bring to justice those responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attack,” it said.
Earlier the department had announced a bounty of $10 million for Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and $2 million for Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki, another senior leader of the group. Saeed has not faced trial in the case in Pakistan. Another prime accused in the case, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, is presently out on bail. The trial in the case in Pakistan hasn’t been completed even a decade after the attacks.
The State Department said anyone with information on this incident can contact the RFJ office via the website, e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone (800-877-3927 in North America), or mail (Rewards for Justice, Washington, D.C., 20520-0303, USA). Individuals may also contact the Regional Security Officer at the nearest US embassy or consulate. “All information will be kept strictly confidential,” it said.
The announcement comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US Vice President Mike Pence’s meeting in Singapore, during which Pence is believed to rued that perpetrators of Mumbai terror attack have not been brought to justice even after ten years.
(With inputs from PTI)