kenya seeks to cut financial flow to Al-Shabab
Kenya is seeking international help to stop informal finances to the Al-Shabaab terror group that remains active despite military operations. Kenya’s High Commissioner to the UK Manoah Esipisu ) said regional and international partners must come together with the federal and regional governments of Somalia to design and implement a framework for combatting Al-Shabaab’s financing using strong Joint Investigation Teams linked to effective prosecution and incarceration in Somalia. These teams, he argued, must also take aim at its illicit taxation and protection rackets of thousands of businesses and many of the humanitarian organisations in Somalia. A big part of this requires that civilians and international humanitarian operations be much better protected by Somali regional and federal forces, he argued. He said it is also important that all countries exposed to this threat to domesticate and be in compliance with the binding counter-terrorism measures in UN Security Council resolutions such as 2178 on Foreign Fighters and others on combatting the financing and any form of support to terrorist groups. “Rather than focus so exclusively on countering terrorism financing measures in the formal banking and money transfer systems, we will need to fully deal with cash-based financing in areas that terrorists operate,” he said. He made the remarks at the Court of St James’s at the Institute for Strategic Studies, London, UK. He argued the military success of Al-Shabaab is far from assured as national and regional militaries, backed by AMISOM and global partners such as the United States among others, have dealt it repeated defeats on the battlefield. “Its political and ideological assault, however, reaches wider than its military capability. If it aligns with other political and ideological interests, particularly the expansionist or irredentist kinds, we will find ourselves dealing with a longer-term crisis that includes economic failure in Somalia and in areas exposed to the group’s operatives.”It would also frustrate Somalia’s still vulnerable state-building project, and probably allow global terrorism to retain a recruitment and training platform in that country.