Somalia arrests notorious Al-Shabaab arms smuggler
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA], Somalia's spy agency, has arrested one of the most notorious Al-Shabaab arms smugglers, in the latest move which could significantly help security forces in dealing with a resurgence of Al-Shabaab militants in the country.
Zakariya Kamala Sufi Abasheikh was arrested on Friday by the sleuths after being on the radar for some time, and his arrest boosts security forces in the fight against Al-Shabaab. He is believed to be having contacts with senior Al-Shabaab militants.
In a statement, NISA accused Zakaria of collaborating with Al-Shabaab to inflict suffering on the people of Somalia, particularly innocent civilians who have been a major target in the fight against Al-Shabaab. Thousands of civilians have been killed in the war.
"We have apprehended Sakaria Kamal, better known as Saki, who held utmost significance as the individual responsible for procuring weaponry and explosives from foreign sources solely to arm the Kharijite adversary and inflict harm upon the innocent Somali people," NISA wrote in a statement.
Reports indicate Zakariya was on bail in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa where he was arrested over links to a cache of weapons three months ago. His lawyer Jared Magolo appealed to the High Court in Mombasa to help in producing his client Zakariya Kamala Sufi Abasheikh who was arrested in April this year by Kenyan police.
According to the lawyer, he had tried to seek answers from the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit [ATPU] without success on his whereabouts. Zakariye was on a $6,770 cash bail and was due to appear in Shanzu law courts on September 22nd this year.
“I have made enquiries and visited the ATPU offices at the regional headquarters, but Abasheikh is nowhere to be found and the officers are not giving any information,” said Magolo.
“The family and friends are worried about his safety. I am therefore compelled to seek orders for his appearance in court or his release,” Magolo said in the document filed before Justice Ann Ong’injo.
At the time NISA announced his arrest, the government of Kenya had been given two weeks to produce him. Some of the weapons seized at the port of Mogadishu include five advanced JS crop drones, capable of carrying 10 litres of liquid up to 500 metres above sea level and covering an area of 10 hectares.
Furthermore, authorities in Somalia announced that they had also seized rifle scopes, materials for military uniforms, canvas for tents, night vision goggles, swim goggles, voice recording pens, spy goggles and watches, military-grade two-way radios, helmets, ghillie suits portable solar panels, flashlights and batteries.
A report by the United Nations shows that Al-Shabaab is capable of generating $120 million annually as revenue mainly through extortion. Of this amount, the report adds, $24 million goes to the purchase of weapons mainly from Yemen, a country in the Middle East which has been ungovernable for the last decade.