Horn Dispatch Weekly Security Brief 03.12.24

Al-Shabab fighters in Somalia. (Photo credit: Courtesy)

US Sanctions Al-Shabab Money Laundering Network 

The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against 16 individuals and entities Monday for fundraising and laundering funds for the terrorist group Al Shabaab.

The sanctioned individuals were operating various businesses in the Horn of Africa, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Cyprus.

The US government has frozen the assets of the sanctioned people and will ban its citizens from engaging in any business with them.

The US treasury said al-Shabaab generates over $100 million per year by extorting local businesses and individuals, as well as getting financial support from affiliated businessmen. 

Al-Shabaab’s revenues are disbursed to other al-Qa’ida-supported groups worldwide and help fund al-Qa’ida’s global ambitions to sow discord and undermine good governance.  

The 16 individuals and entities sanctioned by the US government​ as per the statement issued on Monday

Dubai-based Haleel Commodities L.L.C., also known asHaleel Group,is a key financial facilitator for al-Shabaab, which relies on the leaders of Haleel Group, as well as its branches and subsidiaries in Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, and Cyprus to generate and launder funds.  Haleel Group’s subsidiaries in Cyprus include Haleel Finance LTDHaleel Holdings, and Haleel LTD; the group also has branches in Kenya (Haleel Commodities Limited) and Uganda (Haleel Commodities LTD) and operates as Haleel Electronics in Somalia. 

UAE-based Qemat Al Najah General Trading has served as an important money laundering node in the network, and helped  manage and transfer funds for al-Shabaab in connection with Haleel Group.

Kenya-based Faysal Yusuf Dini (Dini) is an al-Shabaab financial facilitator who leverages Haleel Groupand some of its leadership to transfer funds on behalf of al-Shabaab.  He also works closely with Kenya-based Mohamed Jumale Ali Awale (Awale) to plan investment projects and money laundering activities.  This includes managing al-Shabaab funds laundered through investment projects and companies, including through Kenya-based Crown Bus Services.  Crown Bus Services has alsosupported al-Shabaab’s logistical operations. 

Hassan Abdirahman Mahamed, a Finland-based Somali citizen, uses money transfer and hawala businesses to support al-Shabaab’s money laundering operations linked to the network of Haleel Group and Qemat Al Najah General Trading. UAE-basedMohamed Artan Robel is another member of this money laundering network supporting al-Shabaab through the Haleel Group and Qemat Al Najah General Trading.  Abdikarin Farah Mohamed is a Somalia-based key member of this money laundering network. 

Farhan Hussein Hayder (Hayder) directs and manages Haleel Group’sbranches in Kenya, Uganda, Cyprus, and the UAE, and supports al-Shabaab by generating funds for the group through these businesses. 

A notable part of this network is active in Uganda.  Specifically, Abdulkadir Omar Abdullahi (Abdullahi), is associated with Haleel Group’s Uganda branch as its director, along with Omar Sheikh Ali Hilowle (Hilowle) and Hayder.  In his role, Abdullahi has managed and transferred funds for al-Shabaab. 

Farhan Hussein Hayder,Mohamed Jumale Ali Awale, Abdulkadir Omar Abdullahi, and Qemat Al Najah General Tradingare being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, al-Shabaab, a person whose property is and interest in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224. 

Faysal Yusuf Dini, Omar Sheikh Ali Hilowle,Abdikarin Farah Mohamed,and Mohamed Artan Robel are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, al-Shabaab, a person whose property and interest in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224. 

Hassan Abdirahman Mahamed is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Haleel Commodities L.L.C., a person whose property and interest in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended.

UAE-based Haleel Commodities L.L.C., is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, al-Shabaab, a person whose property and interest in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224.

Cyprus-based Haleel Finance LTD, Haleel Holdings, and Haleel LTD are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13244, as amended, for being owned, controlled, or directed by, directly or indirectly, Haleel Commodities L.L.C., a person whose property and interest in property are proposed to be blacked pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended.

Kenya-based Haleel Commodities Limited and Crown Bus Servicesare being designated pursuant to E.O. 13244, as amended, for being owned, controlled, or directed by, directly or indirectly, Mohamed Jumale Ali Awale, a person whose property and interest in property are proposed to be blacked pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended.

Uganda-based Haleel Commodities LTD is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13244, as amended, for being owned, controlled, or directed by, directly or indirectly, Farhan Hussein Hayder, a person whose property and interest in property are proposed to be blacked pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended.

Clan Militia Leader Denies Fighters Joined Al-Shabab Terror Group

The leader of a clan militia in central Somalia has denied some of his fighters have joined the al-Shabab militant group.

According to Radio Shabelle Abdullahi Abdi Mohamud, one of Ma’awisley’s leaders, denied reports that some of their fighters had joined the al-Shabab group. He says such baseless reports are meant to sabotage the war on the militant group in central Somalia.

The Ma’awisley are a group of clan militias who joined the government forces to push al-Shabab out of their areas.

The accusation comes as al-Shabab has taken control of two towns in the Galguduud and Mudug regions.

Somali Police Link Market Fire to Al-Shabab 

Somali police say the fire in a market in Mogadishu, which killed one person, was caused by a bomb attack from the al-Shabab terror group.

Police spokesperson Kasim Ahmed told reporters that the blaze at the Bakara market in the capital, Mogadishu, on Sunday was caused by an explosive device planted by the terrorists in a dumping ground.

The fire also destroyed shops. Al-Shabab has not claimed responsibility for the attack in the market, but the group carries out deadly attacks against government and civilian areas.

Nine Kenyan Security Officers Injured in Bomb Attack 

At least nine Kenyan police officers were injured when a vehicle they were traveling in Garissa County hit a roadside bomb.

Kenyan media reports that the attack happened in the Walmerer area in Garissa County.

The bomb attack on security officers is blamed on al-Shabab, which has active fighters in Garissa County, which borders Somalia.

The attack comes 10 days after Kenyan security forces killed five al-Shabab fighters and arrested four others in Garissa.

Meanwhile

A planned operation, conducted in collaboration with the Somali National Army and United States allies, targeted a terrorist group in the Lower Shabelle region killing dozens of al-Shabab members and injuring others.

The Commander of the Somali Police Force, Brigadier General Sulub Ahmed Firin, attended an event where 300 members of the Somali Police Force were sworn in. 

The police officers received training at the General Kahiye Police Training School. The Deputy Commander of the Somali Police Force, Brigadier General Zakiye Hussein Ahmed, along with other Police Command officers, also attended the event. 

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