Somalia: Senior Al-Shabaab militants slapped with sanctions by UNSC


MOGADISHU, Somalia - In what is aimed at degrading Somalia-based Al-Shabaab, the United Nations Security Council [UNSC] has slapped three Al-Shabaab operatives with sanctions, following the latest coordinated efforts to end the militants' dominance in sections of Somalia.

The chair of the Security Council's sanctions regime said, Monday, a move meant to help the federal government of Somalia in combating the militants, who control large swathes of rural central and southern Somalia but have steadily continued to lose ground.

She added that those three individuals hold various positions in the armed group. The decision was made on Monday, and the individuals will serve such sanctions immediately across all United Nations member countries worldwide.

She also noted that the committee received the comprehensive midterm update of the panel of experts on Somalia on May 14 and discussed the content at a second informal virtual meeting on June 4.

This is not the first time the security council is targeting militants with such sanctions. In the past, given that most of these militants are fugitives, have been issued sanctions but at times, they keep changing their identity or nationalities, making it difficult to trace them.

During that meeting, she said, the acting coordinator of the panel, who was appointed following the resignation of the coordinator on April 27, 2021, highlighted four key areas of the panel's midterm update -- the continued threat posed by Al-Shabaab, including the use of improvised explosive devices; violations of international humanitarian law; ongoing investigations into the group's finances; the management of weapons and ammunition by the federal government; and the ban on the export of charcoal from the country.

All committee members, she added, welcomed the panel's work on Al-Shabaab's finances, expressed concern over the reported violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, and noted that effective weapons and ammunition management procedures instituted by the federal government were key to preventing military equipment from falling into the hands of Al-Shabaab and a faction of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The committee is currently considering the six recommendations contained in the panel's midterm update, including the idea of a consultative process with the federal government on the requirements of the arms embargo regime, she reported.

But their names are yet to be made public, until such a time full protocols are implemented. Some of the top leaders who have been slapped with sanctions include Bashir Qorgab, who was killed in a US Africa Command airstrike last year, Mahad Karate, the financial controller, and Al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Omar.

The group continues to wreak havoc in the country and across the border, with Tuesday's attack at a military training center in Mogadishu being the deadliest attack in recent months. The group is also said to have raided another military base in Lower Shabelle on Monday night.


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