Somalia sets hotline, to be used for reporting Al-Shabaab extortionists

Somalia sets hotline, to be used for reporting Al-Shabaab extortionists

MOGADISHU, Somalia – The government of Somalia has moved with speed and established a hotline that will be used by locals across the country to report Al-Shabaab extortionists, with the government now keen to block all revenue collection avenues.

For decades, the group has been running an expansive budget solely by extorting local businesses, making it difficult for the country to progress. Annually, reports indicate, the group runs a $100 million budget with almost $24 million going for the purchase of weapons.

The government said callers are not required to give their names and location; all they need to do is give information about the person demanding the extortion. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has previously indicated that the group cannot be defeated through the military alone.

According to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the country is going to invest in changing the mentality of the people through the propagation of positive ideologies which would significantly help citizens jointly help eradicate the Al-Shabaab menace.

The latest directive comes at a time several clans have been mobilized to help weaken the militants with close cooperation with the Somali National Army and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia. Also in the operation is the US Africa Command.

Recently, the government of Somalia warned local businesses against supporting Al-Shabaab by parting with money through extortion or willingly. Those found culpable, the government said, will have their business licenses revoked.

“Any merchant who obeys instructions issued by the terrorists, and pays them income, will never be allowed to do business in Somalia again,” the ministry of commerce said in a letter to traders, just days after the president warned the group.

“Any company found to involve members of al-Shabab, or that sponsors their merchandise, will have their property including real estate confiscated by the government.”

On Sunday, the group attacked the Port City of Kismayo which was once under the militants before the Kenya Defense Forces [KDF] reclaimed it. Sunday’s attack left three people dead and the government said the hotel which was targeted is frequented by local elders and business owners.


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