Jun 15, 2020

Al Shabaab looking to smuggle explosives into Somalia- UN

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If the current chemicals used for Al-Shabaab’s homemade explosives become scarce, the group would shift to other sources of explosive materials or precursors, possibly through illicit smuggling, the Chair of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia said during a 9 June videoconference meeting.

During an informal discussion on 29 April, he said the United Nations Mine Action Service delivered a briefing on improvised explosive device trends in Somalia, with recommendations on the implementation of the newly imposed components ban. On Al-Shabaab’s increased use of homemade explosives since 2018, the Mine Action Service views that the effort to clear mines and unexploded war remnants across Somalia has reduced AlShabaab’s access to military-grade explosives, apparently triggering a shift away from such explosives.

He said the Mine Action Service encourages the development of a coordinated approach to controlling the supply of improvised explosive device components via regional bodies and agreements, as well as donor support for strengthening the Somali National Army. It also recommends continued sensitization of Member States regarding their obligations under the sanctions regime. On that point, the Committee had tasked the Panel of Experts with preparing a draft Implementation Assistance Notice to guide the Member States on carrying out the improvised device component ban.

During an informal discussion on 27 May, he said the Coordinator of the Panel of Experts delivered a midterm update and submitted two monthly updates. Four areas of the midterm update were highlighted: the reset in relations with the Federal Government of Somalia, the threat posed by AlShabaab — notably the group’s financial flows — the ban on the export of charcoal from Somalia and the potential consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

All Committee members welcomed the resumed cooperation and collaboration between the Federal Government and the Panel and looked forward to the return of all Panel members to Somalia once the coronavirus travel restrictions were lifted. He said the Committee is now considering the six recommendations contained in the midterm update, which broadly pertain to: threats to peace and security in Somalia, particularly Al-Shabaab’s military and financial capabilities; implementation of the arms embargo through improvement in weapons and ammunition management; and international humanitarian law issues, including strengthening the protection of civilians.


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