Puntland remains primary entry point for illicit arms into Somalia - UN report

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online
Australian Navy Intercepts Fishing Boat Carrying 2,000 Guns And Ammunition To Somalia, March 2016 [File Photo]

NAIROBI, Kenya - A new report by the UN monitoring group on Eritrea and Somalia blamed Puntland for being the primary entry point of the illegal weapons from Yemen into the conflict-riddled Horn of Africa country, Garowe Online reports.

The Monitoring Group continued to investigate several prominent Bosaso-based arms importers detailed in its previous reports, in particular, Mahad Isse Aden, also known as Laboballe, Abd Mohamed Omar, also known as Dhofaye, and Abshir Mohamed Barre.

Financial records obtained by the Group show that Laboballe, 40 Dhofaye, and Barre transferred more than $160,000 to Yemen-based arms dealers between September 2017 and March 2018.

In January 2018 alone, $130,000 was sent to a previously unknown individual who handles money transfers on behalf of a United States-designated Al-Qaida facilitator, Sayf Abdulrab Salem Al-Hayashi, also known as Sayf Al-Baydani.

On 23 September 2017, the Puntland Maritime Police Force interdicted a vessel bound from Yemen to Somalia and seized the arms and ammunition on board.

On 2 October 2017, the Monitoring Group inspected the seizure in Bosaso, with assistance from the Puntland authorities.

The term-ending government of Puntland is yet to comment on the report.

The United Nations has a decades-long arms embargo in place against Somalia, which has been mired in conflict since civil war broke out in 1991.

UN sanctions authorize the interception of weapons heading for Somalia, where the Islamist militant group al-Shabab is active and poses threat to the security.

The report is available here: The UN monitoring group report on Somalia.