Somalia incapable of shutting Shabaab cash sources, US says

The Somali government and judiciary are not capable of striking at individuals or organisations funding Al-Shabaab operations, the United States has said.

“Somalia lacks the funding and capacity to investigate and prosecute incidents of terrorism financing,” the State Department said in its country-by-country report on terrorism last year.

“The judicial system remains weak and underdeveloped, suffering from minimal inter-agency coordination and a lack of capacity and technical expertise,” the report added.

It said ministries responsible for drafting and submitting Bills to Parliament lacked the capacity to devise comprehensive counter-terrorism strategies.

Somalia also follows an “outdated” penal code that was last revised in 1962, the report added.

Al-Shabaab makes money by illegally producing and exporting charcoal and sugar and by taxing residents and businesses in areas under its control.

The Somali diaspora serves as another source of financing. The report suggested that Al-Shabaab’s status as a “multi-clan entity” enabled it to garner donations from Somalis abroad.

“The donations are not always intended to support terrorism but also to support family members,” the study said.

The new report cited the UN finding of a decline in Al-Shabaab revenues from the charcoal business. But the group may still have made as much as $15 million through sales in 2014, the report said.

And despite any losses of funding, Al-Shabaab received “enough income to launch multiple attacks per week in Mogadishu, launch complex raids against Amisom bases and expand operations against civilian aviation targets”, the State Department said.

The US estimates that Al-Shabaab has several thousand members, including a small cadre of foreign fighters.

It is not difficult for the militants to enter and leave Somalia, it added.

“Somalia has porous borders, and most countries do not recognise Somali identity documents,” the US report pointed out.

The country thus has “little-to-no travel document security,” nor does it maintain a terrorist screening watch-list.

Somalia also lacks biographic and biometric screening capabilities at its sea, air and land ports of entry.

However, the federal government made some strides last year in its counter-terrorism capabilities.

The report said efforts were made to improve security in the capital while known locations of weapon caches in homes and businesses were targeted by security personnel.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *