WASHINGTON, June 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department, in a first, said it was offering multimillion-dollar rewards for information on key leaders of the Somali militant group al-Shabaab.
The interim government in Somalia has made modest gains in exerting its control beyond Mogadishu with the help of African forces fighting al-Shabaab militants trying to set up an Islamist state.
The U.S. State Department said it authorized a reward of up to $7 million for information leading to the location of al-Shabaab founder Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed.
Rewards of up to $5 million were offered for information regarding other key leaders, including al-Qaida coordinators and top authorities thought to have been trained in terrorism activities in Afghanistan.
The mandate for the interim administration in Mogadishu ends in August.
Delegates from 54 countries met last week in Istanbul for the second conference for Somalia this year. London hosted a similar summit in February.
Somali officials said during the summit that international support was needed, though the fate of the country lies with its people.
There hasn't been a functioning central government in Somalia since the 1990s.