Al-Shabaab financier jailed in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - A senior Al-Shabaab financier has been jailed in Somalia, in yet another major milestone in the fight against the militants, who still control large swathes of rural central and southern Somalia, but have lately been losing strategic towns to the national army.
Hashi Garad Ali Aalin alias Yahye was sentenced to 10 years in prison having been found liable for leading an extortion ring that was directly responsible for taxing innocent civilians. He was in charge of Al-Shabaab finances for the last 10 years.
The convict, who first joined Al-Shabaab in 2013, was found guilty of overseeing the finances in several districts within the Mudug and Galgaduud regions. The region has been under Al-Shabaab militants for quite sometime before the national army took over.
According to reports, Aalin was arrested on July 7 around the Barak Isse area in Mudug in one of the most sophisticated operations in the country. The operation led to the death of one Hashi, following a gunfight with the national army, which has been on a charm offensive against the militants.
During prosecution, it emerged that Aalin was getting up to $200 per month as payment for his services of extortion. The government has been fighting the militants with the help of US Africa Command and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] forces.
Al-Shabaab has lost several strategic towns in the last 12 months, with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud vowing to defeat the group by December 2024. The government also had its request of having ATMIS withdrawal technically paused for a few months to help sustain the fight against the group.
Besides the military operations, the government is also pursuing financiers, leading to the closure of about 250 bank accounts and 70 mobile money transfer firms. The government of Somalia projects that for the better part of 2024, the militants would have lost sufficient grounds.