Somalia freezes accounts financing al-Shabaab insurgents

The Somalia government has blocked Alshabab’s financial bank accounts in Somalia, both through remittance companies and national banks.

There have been a similar crackdown on the suspected financiers and money launderers of the group l in the UK and US where the governments have adopted strict money-laundering laws making it difficult for banks to deal with them.

Deputy Minister of Information, Abdirahman Yusuf Al-Addala, while addressing members of the Somali Diaspora in Sweden said that the federal government received over ten thousand tips from people regarding money transfers to al-Shabaab.

The government said It is part of their decision to suffocate the organization’s financial resources.

However, the government did not say which financial institutions the militants used to process their transactions but noted that the accounts contained a large amount of money.

They also said many prominent business community members had followed the government’s directions and stopped paying extortion fees to the group.

The Somalia government has in recent days accelerated efforts aimed at sealing loopholes in the financial sector often exploited by the Islamist group, al-Shabaab which is fighting to topple the Government

The government has provided the necessary tools to detect and disrupt patterns of financing associated with Al Qaeda and global terrorist networks.

This includes the strengthening of institutions like the Financial Reporting Center (FRC) in Somalia which regulates and is set to report on any suspicious money circulating.

The centre was established through the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act, 2016 to operate as a National Central Agency that is responsible for the receipt, analysis and appropriate dissemination of all information relating to money-laundering and terrorism financing.

The Immigration and Naturalization Directorate, the Ministry of Aviation and Transportation and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, which are important institutions for compliance, have been asked to immediately provide the necessary tools to detect and disrupt those patterns.

The U.N. Panel of Experts report on Somalia earlier this year said al-Shabab has about 100 checkpoints throughout the country where they impose taxes on trucks transporting goods.

The Mogadishu-based Hiraal Institute think tank estimates al-Shabab earns enough to spend $24 million per year on weapons.

Security experts say a crackdown on terrorism funding would mark a departure from Somalia’s previous government, which focused more on fighting political battles.

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