3 suspected Shabaab militants arrested in Wajir following thwarted attack

Three suspects were on Wednesday arrested after security officers repulsed Al Shabaab militants who tried to attack two police stations in Wajir in the latest incident.

The three were nabbed after being pursued by combined forces of GSU and AP from Ijara camps following the failed attacks.

According to police, the group had fired into the camps before officers returned fire in an exchange that lasted almost 20 minutes.

It was then that the team combed the area and managed to arrest the three suspects who are now under interrogation.

The area has been facing a series of attacks from the terror groups that has seen an exodus of teachers who are non-locals from the region.

Source: Capital FM



US gives Kenya Sh500m boats to fight terror

US government has given boats worth Sh500 million grant to Kenya Navy and Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to help in the fight against terrorism.

In a statement, US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec said the metal shark boats will reinforce Kenya Navy’s Maritime domain awareness capability and support the Kenyan blue economy.

He said the boats have exceptional capacity to operate in the challenging equatorial maritime environment, while simultaneously being rugged enough to endure extended operations with minimal maintenance hence they will bolster the Kenya Navy’s capability to deploy Kenyan rangers and other quick reaction forces from the sea, and to patrol and defend the more than 500 km maritime border.

“Today we reaffirm that the United States is and will remain your steadfast partner in the fight against terrorism and extremism. We are pleased today to make this important contribution to Kenyan and regional security and look forward to the excellent work the Kenya Navy will do with these vessels.

The metal sharks will bolster the Kenya Navy’s capacity to combat al Shabaab, an effort that will bring about a more stable and peaceful East Africa,” he said.

The ambassador said the 10 metal shark boats represent the largest US maritime security cooperation programme in sub-Saharan Africa, adding that the United States values the Kenyan commitment to building a more peaceful and secure Kenya and East Africa region.

At the same time, Godec said his country is committed to working with the Kenyan government to protect the country’s democracy by upholding the rule of law and fundamental rights.

He said though Kenya was still struggling to address challenges of post-election political tension in the country, it is time for Kenyans to address the gaps by finding solutions that would ensure protection of democratic rights and rule of law.

He was addressing journalists at Shimanzi Cargil Kenya Limited, during his one-day visit in Mombasa to inspect US government sponsored programmes.

Source: People Daily

Terrorists Use Businesses across East Africa to Fund Attacks, Says Report

Financial Intelligence Authority has released a report that shows terrorists are using a chain of local businesses across East Africa to fund attacks in the region. The National Risk Assessment report says terrorist funding comes from both legal and illegal businesses.

These sources include extortion, human and wildlife trafficking, drug trafficking, illegal trade of sugar, charcoal, and fuel, ransoms, and misuse of non-profit organisations (NPOs). Additionally, the report says terrorists benefit from remittances sent to Somali nationals in countries in East Africa.

Terror Groups in East Africa

According to the report, the greatest threats in the region are al-Shabaab, Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

The amount of money raised for all terror groups in the region is about $100 million. The main source of funding for al-Shabaab is piracy, migrant smuggling, foreign remittances, illegal taxation, extortion, donations, and wildlife crimes.

The report’s findings reveal that many businesses operated by Somalis in Kenya and Uganda such as remittance companies, money exchanges, and fuel stations send money to Somalia which is taxed by al-Shabaab.

For instance, the report says al-Shabaab was producing more $400 million annually, by 2014, in trade with countries such as UAE and Kenya. The terrorist group has been making $25 million yearly through taxation. The greatest source of revenue is piracy which earned them about $400 million as of 2013.

The report claims LRA receives funding from wildlife crimes, sponsorship from the Khartoum government, minerals, extortion, and looting. On the other hand, ADF funds its missions through trade, illegal mining, state sponsorship, real estate, and NPO donations.

For example, ADF received $22,811 from an NPO in the UK and the group runs real estate businesses in Kenya and Tanzania.

Mobile Money Transfers

According to the report, mobile money transfers record a high risk of being used to fund terrorist activities because they are fast and operate beyond borders. However, banks recorded the lowest vulnerability risk of being used to fund terrorism.

Source: Kenya Wall Street

Patrol team foils Al Shabaab attack

Security agencies operating in Boni forest foiled a planned Al Shabaab terrorist attack on their convoy.
According to the commander of the operation, Douglas Kirocho, a team of Kenya Defence Forces and Rural Border Patrol Unit was on patrol on Sunday afternoon when they spotted signs of an ambush along the Hulugho-Galmagalla road.
After securing the area, the team found an Improvised Explosive Devise (IED) and safely detonated it. “They managed to foil an IED explosion that had been placed targeting them, the IED had been placed several kilometres from Galmagalla,” said Kirocho.

Security agencies in the area have intensified operations against the terror group.
Source: The Standard

KDF soldiers treat locals in Boni as dispensaries remain shut

A KDF officer attending to a patient

The Kenya Defence Forces soldiers-KDF who are currently conducting the multi-agency security operation Linda Boni have come to the rescue of residents in the areas of the operation who were in dire need of medical care.

The operation which was launched in 2015 to flush out Al Shabaab militants believed to hiding deep within the Boni forest,takes place in three border counties on Lamu,Tana River and Garissa.

Raids and attacks by Al Shabaab militants in many parts of this counties have left many dispensaries and health centres grounded as the militants looted,vandalized and even torched some of them.

Health workers who used to work in these places have so far fled for their lives and many have vowed never to return.

Many residents in the affected places have been left to their own fate as they struggle to seek medical care.

However speaking on Monday, Assistant Inspector-General and Police Commander in charge of the operation Douglas Kirocho said the KDF was now offering medical services to all residents of Lamu,Tana River and Garissa free of charge having realized the desperate need for the services.

Kirocho says the initiative by the KDF is meant to save lives and restore the health of residents in these places.

The medical camp is located at Kotile and Masalani dispensaries all located within the Boni forest and have so far attended to over 200 people.

Kirocho says the dispensaries which are fully run and operated by medical experts and doctors from the KDF are open twice a week;on Mondays and Wednesdays.

He says the officers have been foced to juggle between their usual security duties and also ensuring they offer the much needed medical care and services to the affected communities.

Kirocho adds that the move is also aimed at strengthening the bond between locals and security officers conducting the operation.

“Our main objective even as we conduct this operation is to enhance the livelihoods here by provision of adequate security at all times. Apart from the normal duties,we have also embarked on a campaign to save lives. We have dispatched a medical services team from the KDF to areas like Kotile and Masalani.We issued referrals for cases we couldn’t handle,” said Kirocho.

He revealed plans to also sink water pans in the areas in order to deal with the current drought spell that has in turn caused water scarcity.

Boni residents are however calling on the national government to ensure all dispensaries that were closed almost four years ago owing to frequent Al Shabaab attacks are re-openened to enable for more effective health service delivery.

The dispensaries in Milimani, Basuba and Mangai have never been re-opened since 2014 after staff fled for their lives.

Many women and babies have lost their lives for lack of specialized care as pregnant women are only forced to rely on traditional birth attendants with no experience to deal with maternal and infant emergencies.

“We are really glad about what the KDF is doing for us.It means a lot that they can put their guns aside to attend to our sick people and we are more than humbled.We however hope that the government considers setting up a maternity wing for our women here.We have lost so many mothers and babies because of the situation,”said Ali Gubo,an elder of the Boni community.

Source: Baraka FM

Uganda deploys air force to pursue Islamic militants in Somalia


The Uganda People’s Defence Air Force has for the first time sent a contingent of ace pilots to support the ongoing African Union (AU) peace operations in Somalia, like reported by newvision.co.ug.

The air force will provide aerial escort for convoys, reconnaissance operations along the supply routes, medical evacuation, air search and rescue as well as aerial combat against the al-Shabaab in Mogadishu.

The contingent of airmen and women and helicopters was flagged off yesterday by the chief of defence forces Gen. Aronda Nyakairima and the commander of the air force Gen. Jim Owoyesigire. Aronda handed over the AU flag to the contingent commander Lt. Col. Chris Kaija.

Gen. Owoyesigire said that the utility helicopters will be used to support the ground troops in line with the unapproved mandate for troops deployed in Somalia under the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

The Ugandan air force is to provide air cover in the areas of Somalia which are occupied by the contingents from Burundi, Djibouti and Uganda, according to Gen. Aronda.

Gen. Aronda said that the Uganda air force has formally joined AMISOM after the deployment was authorised by President Yoweri  Museveni and endorsed by the African Union and the UN.

Addressing the air force personnel, Gen. Aronda said, “We have won battles in Somalia but we are yet to win the war. I have no doubt that you have been prepared and you are ready to go and support AMISOM. Go and support the ground forces which have done credible work.”

Aronda said that the deployment of the air force is coming at a time when Somalis are going for parliamentary and presidential elections this month.

According to Gen. Aronda, with Mogadishu now pacified, the ground troops presently have to move long distances in the rest of the country and need rapid response which can be provided by the air force.

Source: Islam Media Analysis

How terrorists raise money to hit targets

Kampala. Terrorists are using a string of local businesses across the East African countries from which they reap millions of dollars they use to finance their terror missions in the region, according to findings in the Financial Intelligence Authority report.
These findings are contained in the report on National Risk Assessment of money laundering and terrorism financing in Uganda. The report says the terrorist deal in both lawful and prohibited businesses.
The report says the main funding sources include extortion, misuse of non-profit organisations (NPOs), engaging in natural resources/wild life crimes, ransoms, piracy, illegal trade in sugar, fuel, charcoal, human and wildlife trafficking.

The terrorists benefit from remittances from Somali nationals operating in Uganda and other countries in the region.
According to the report, when the Somalis outside Somalia send money to their relatives back home in al-Shabaab controlled areas, the remittances are taxed by the militants who use the proceeds to finance their terror operations.

The report names other means of revenue generation for the terrorists as drug trafficking, extortion and trading in precious metals.
The report names three terror groups in the region as the biggest threats. They are; al-Shabaab, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

The volume of terrorist financing, according to the report, is estimated at $100m (about Shs360 billion) for all terrorist groups in the region.
According to the report, al-Shabaab’s main source of funding includes piracy, extortion in form of illegal taxation, trade, foreign remittances, donations, migrant smuggling and wildlife crimes.
According to the findings, it is believed that many businesses operated by the Somali community in Uganda such as “money exchange and remittance companies” and fuel stations send money to Somalia, which are taxed by al-Shabaab when received within territories under its control.

Somali community speaks out
However, Mr Hassan Hussain, the chairperson of the Somali community in Uganda, denied claims of terrorism financing through remittances back home.
He said all the money they send back to Somalia is cleared by the Central Bank before it is remitted to Somalia.

“That’s untrue. We get permission from the Central Bank, We have passed through all the processes fulfilling all the conditions. I don’t know where these people got this information from,” Mr Hussain said.
He said they have been working closely with the security agencies in Uganda and the Somali community has different executive committees that handle issues affecting Somalis in Uganda.
Mr Hussain said their stay has been peaceful and they have not received any threat from the local community here or external threat from al-Shabaab.

For example by 2014, the report says al-Shabaab was generating in excess of Shs1.5 trillion ($400m) annually in trade with foreign countries, which included the United Arab Emirates, Dubai and Kenya through sale of sugar and charcoal.
The group has also been earning $25m (about Shs90.6b) annually through taxation, according to the report.
Piracy probably earned the biggest share of revenue for the al-Shabaab estimated at between $339m and $439m (about Shs1.23 trillion and Shs1.6 trillion) as of 2013.

Although it did not name particular individuals or organisations, the report says al-Shabaab receives a lot of financial donations from its diaspora community, including those in Uganda.
The report, for example, indicates the funds used to execute the July 2010 twin terror bombings in Kampala originated from the UK.
It says the funds were wired from UK through a forex bureau in Nairobi, Kenya. The money was picked from the bureau (name withheld) by one of the terrorists who proceeded to Kampala to finalise the terror mission.

Though the report did not name the person or the group that sent the money, it says the funds were promptly received in Nairobi and one of the masterminds of the attack proceeded to Uganda for the attack.
The attack left 76 people dead and dozens of others injured at Kyadondo Rugby Grounds and Ethiopian Village Restaurant in Kabalagala, both in Kampala.
Fourteen suspects were charged over the twin bombings and nine were convicted.

The report says LRA’s main sources of revenue include wildlife crimes, minerals, extortion, looting and state sponsorship by the Khartoum government.
The report further states that the Allied Democratic Forces’ main sources of funds include trade, real estate business, wildlife crime, illegal mining, state sponsorship and donations from NPOs.
It says the ADF received $22,811 (about Shs82m) from a NPO in the UK. The organisation is not named. It says in 2015, the ADF staged road blocks in eastern DR Congo and obtained $80,000 (about Shs289m) to fund its activities.

According to the report, ADF also runs real estate, car bonds and transport businesses in Kenya. The report says ADF also has real estate businesses in Tanzania, where it derives income to carry out its terror activities in Uganda and DR Congo.

Banking sector registers lowest risk
The analysis of terrorism financing shows that the risks of running terrorism financing is very low in the banking sector.
The higher risk was cited in other types of financial institutions such as forex bureaus and Mobile Money transfer firms, real estate and in some financial inclusion products. The report says there has been one case of alleged terrorism funding related to a bank.

According to the findings, the terror financing risk among NGOs is medium, although there are some NGOs that are currently being investigated for suspected involvement in terrorism financing.
Firms dealing in insurance and security exchanges also present a lower inherent terrorism financing risk.
Currently, in the financial sector, the higher terrorism financing risk is posed by less regulated/supervised types of financial institutions, particularly forex and Mobile Money transfers.

Uganda’s capacity
Uganda has a legal framework, which was recently enhanced by the enactment of Anti-Terrorism Regulations.
However, terrorism financing being a new offence, the quality of intelligence generated for this specific crime is still at formative stage.
The report recommends that while there are significant strengths in the anti-terrorism framework, more focus should be placed on terror financing intelligence and investigations, and effective implementation of preventive measures by accountable persons.

Mobile money transfers

The analysis of some financial inclusion-related products, particularly Mobile Money international remittances and Mobile Money person-to-person transfers shows that the vulnerability of mobile money products to terrorism financing risk is high.
This is due to the rapidity of transactions as well as cross-border services that facilitate these transactions.
The report says for money transfers that have transaction thresholds of between Shs4m to Shs5m per day, the risks of terrorism financing are much higher. One can receive the upper limit amount daily and in a week the accumulated sum is high. Customers can also hold multiple SIM-cards and accounts of Mobile Money with the same or different network operators. Although these products are subject to anti-money laundering requirements, the implementation of the regulations is uneven and ineffective.

Source: Daily Monitor