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Somali Intelligence-led International investigation Leads to the Designation of Al-Shabab’s Transnational Money Laundering Networks
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Somali Intelligence-led International investigation Leads to the Designation of Al-Shabab’s Transnational Money Laundering Networks

MOGADISHU (Hanoolaato) – In a groundbreaking operation, Somali intelligence agency has led an international investigation that resulted in the identification of Al-Shabab’s extensive transnational money laundering networks that led to

  • PublishedMarch 13, 2024

MOGADISHU (Hanoolaato) – In a groundbreaking operation, Somali intelligence agency has led an international investigation that resulted in the identification of Al-Shabab’s extensive transnational money laundering networks that led to their designatation by the U.S Treasury.

 The year-long collaborative effort, part of a broader global initiative to combat terrorism financing, saw intelligence agencies from multiple nations, including the United States, pooling resources to track and expose the sophisticated tactics employed by Al-Shabab.

These tactics included the use of diverse business networks and companies to launder illicit funds, ultimately fueling the group’s terrorist activities.

The group, known for its brutal tactics and destabilizing influence in the Horn of Africa, has been a longstanding concern for the global security.

Building on the success of the initial phase of the anti terror financing operation, which targeted the group’s local finances by freezing assets, blocking bank accounts and mobile phones, NISA has since shifted its focus to dismantle Al-Shabaab’s offshore money laundering networks abroad.

The culmination of the extensive joint investigation, the first international mission led by NISA in over two decades under the leadership of Mahad Salad, has resulted in the U.S. Treasury designating a Transnational Al-Shabaab Money Laundering Network and individuals located in Kenya, Uganda, UAE, and Cyprus.

According to the American Treasury, this expansive business network plays a crucial role in raising and laundering funds for Al-Shabaab, an al-Qa’ida-affiliated terrorist group.

According to sources, NISA’s focus on Al-Shabaab’s financial structures beyond borders is part of a broader strategy to disrupt the group’s funding streams and hinder its ability to carry out terrorist activities.

The agency has not disclosed specific details about the operations but it emphasizes the gravity of the threat posed by the group’s sophisticated money laundering operations.

Experts suggest that disrupting the funding streams of the terrorist organization is crucial in weakening its operational capabilities.

Meanwhile, the success of the major operation which has seen NISA expanded its reach beyond national borders reflects the growing effectiveness of the Somali intelligence collaboration on a global scale to track and apprehend individuals and entities involved in facilitating money laundering for Al-Shabaab with the aim of choking off the financial arteries that have been crucial to Al-Shabaab’s sustenance.

New Chapter

Since assuming office as the Somali intelligence chief in 2022, Mr. Mahad Salad has spearheaded significant reforms within the spy agency aimed at bolstering its reputation and effectiveness.

The intelligence agency, once plagued by allegations of operating without legal oversight and involvement in human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings, has undergone a transformative period under Salad’s leadership.

Among the major changes initiated by Salad was the introduction of legislation to regulate the agency’s operations, which was subsequently passed by the parliament.

This move has ushered in a new era of accountability, making the agency answerable to the legislative body and subject to robust oversight mechanisms.

The reforms implemented by Salad have garnered widespread acclaim from international partners and human rights organizations alike.

These changes have not only enhanced the operational efficiency of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) but have also fostered greater public trust and collaboration with the agency, ultimately contributing to the overall security landscape of the country.

The progress made by Salad’s administration has also attracted the attention of of the leading intelligence agencies around the world.

CIA Chief William Burns and MI6 Director Richard Moore have since visited Mogadishu to engage in discussions with their Somali counterpart, further underlining the significance of the reforms initiated by Mr. Salad.

Nonetheless, the reforms undertaken by Mr. Mahad Salad signify a landmark shift in the trajectory of the Somali intelligence agency, marking a departure from its troubled past towards a future defined by accountability, transparency, and collaboration.

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