Home > SOMALI NEWS > War in Southern Somalia:Kenya targets al Shabaab’s lifeline

War in Southern Somalia:Kenya targets al Shabaab’s lifeline

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Laaska News Oct. 22,2011        Kenya Media &  ……………..Kismaayu & Kistaada  – naxash la’aan!!!!!!!!!!!

Kenyan military planners have targeted the capture of Kismayu and two nearby secondary ports to cut off billions of shillings earned by al Shabaab to finance their insurgency.

The imminent capture of Kismayu and the secondary ports of Marka and Baraawe will suddenly cut off money earned by al Shabaab from port fees, illegal smuggling of sugar and other commodities to Kenya and the export of charcoal, according to a recent UN report.

It is estimated that al Shabaab earns up to Sh5 billion ($50 million) a year in port fees and Sh6 billion ($60 million) in business taxes.

al Shabaab also levies fees from road checkpoints, human traffickers and gun runners, according to the report.

The Kenyan troops have already captured six towns during their six-day military onslaught against the militants, including the pirates’ haven of Ras Kamboni, Dhobley, Tabda, Beles Qooqani, Oddo and Kolbio. (READ: Kenyan forces capture Shabaab’s Ras Kamboni)

Possible assault

Other soldiers are massing near the Kiunga border point in the south eastern part of Kenya for a possible assault from the South.

The strategy appears to involve a two-pronged assault on Kismayu using a combined force of the Kenya Navy and the Kenya Army.

While the ground troops close in on Kismayu from the south, the Navy will attack from the North, sealing any possible exit points for both the militants and the pirates through the Indian Ocean.

Somali refugees, pouring into Kenya at Liboi, said they were escaping bombing raids by Kenya Air Force jets and the ground assault.

Details of how al Shabaab have converted Kismayu and smuggling routes into lucrative money collection centres is contained in the latest UN monitoring group report on Somalia.

The report, released at the end of July, says the group generates between $35 million and $50 million per year from port revenues, of which at least $15 million is based on trade in charcoal and sugar.

This is done through a co-ordinated trading cycle built upon the export of charcoal, which in turn finances the import of sugar, much of which is subsequently smuggled across as contraband into neighbouring countries, particularly Kenya, says the report.

Laaska News.