Al-Qaeda linked group in Somalia make millions of US dollars
MOGADISHU, Somalia –The al Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab group makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year through all sorts of zakat/taxes in Somalia, while its fighters intensified deadly attacks on popular targets and African Union peacekeeping force’s bases in the war-ravaged nation.
The group collects millions of dollars in Zakat/taxes, road fees and special funds called ‘Infaaq’ from businesses, traders, trucks, fuel, other goods, farms and everything else in Somalia, according to latest interview with businessmen who are directly dealing with Al-Shabaab.
The Islamist militant group al-Shabab is battling the UN-backed government has reportedly raised the money needed to operate in fighting against Somali army forces, along with African Union forces.
Somali businessman, Shabelow, said the funds typically are transferred through bank and other informal remittance system traditional to many Islamic communities; through regular banking channels; and by courier.
The money goes mainly to support the group’s members, and for the training, recruiting, weapons, and equipment required to sustain the Somali insurgency and wage jihad in Somalia.
Who are al-Shabab?
Al-Shabab means The Youth in Arabic.
It emerged as the radical youth wing of Somalia’s now-defunct Union of Islamic Courts, which controlled Mogadishu in 2006, before being forced out by Ethiopian forces.
There are numerous reports of foreign jihadists going to Somalia to help al-Shabab, from neighbouring countries, as well as the US and Europe.
It is banned as a terrorist group by both the US and the UK and is believed to have between 7,000 and 9,000 fighters.
Al-Shabab advocates the Saudi-inspired Wahhabi version of Islam, while most Somalis are Sufis.
It has imposed a strict version of Sharia in areas under its control, including stoning to death women accused of adultery and amputating the hands of thieves.
The Al-Qaeda linked Shabaab was pushed out of the Somali capital in 2011 — and subsequently other towns and cities — by soldiers from the African Union Mission in Somalia.
Somalia has been mired in violence and lawlessness since early 1990s when dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled.