Somalia's Attorney General receives Intel on Al-Shabaab financiers


MOGADISHU, Somalia - The war against Al-Shabaab militants could take another twist following revelations by Attorney General Sulayman Mohamoud, which comes at the time the country is set to start the second phase of operations against violent extremists who have caused mayhem and disorder in the Horn of Africa nation.

In a statement on Wednesday, the office of the Attorney General revealed that it has gathered "information related to the financing of terrorism" within Somalia which would "effectively" help the country in fighting violent extremists. The AG did not give further details.

But in the last few months, the government has invested slashing Al-Shabaab and IS-Somalia sources of revenue, starting with a stern warning against business owners against remitting taxes to the militants. Those found culpable, the government noted, "will face serious consequences".

A report published by the United Nations revealed that the group makes up to $120 million in revenue annually up from $100 million in 2021. Of this figure, the report added, $24 million is used in purchasing sophisticated weapons from abroad and ammunition used in reigning terror on the people.

To further paralyze the financial flow of money within the group, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has activated a crackdown on mobile money transfer firms and banks which have been wiring money to terror groups. The crackdown affected 70 mobile money transfer firms and 250 bank accounts, the government said.

Across the country in areas where the militants' control, residents are forced to pay taxes in form of Zakat with those failing to comply subjected to punitive punishments. Roadblocks are major revenue collection centers across regions where the militants enjoy monopoly, the UN report further added.

The massive amounts collected by the group have often caused a rift within Al-Shabaab, with Mahad Karate, the group's head of accounts often facing rebellion from a faction that is loyal to Abu Ubaida, the Emir of Al-Shabaab. At one point, the rift escalated causing sharp divisions within Al-Shabaab.

Although it's not clear what information the Attorney General was referring to, intelligence services were tasked to identify revenue collection points and financiers for action. The United States has also pledged rewards for persons who are ready to reveal Al-Shabaab sources of finances are revenue collection points.

The Somali National Army [SNA], US Africa Command, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS], and local militia have often been working closely in a crackdown against the group. In the just-ended phase, the government announced, over 3,000 Al-Shabaab militants were killed and 3,700 severely injured.


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