US Sanctions Target IS Arms Traffickers in Somalia

Car bombs targeting the ministry of education in Somalia killed more than 100 people and injured 300 on October 29. PHOTO: COURTESY.

The US announced sanctions on Tuesday against a weapons trafficking network linked to the Islamic State group in Somalia and the Al-Qaida-linked militant group Al Shabaab, which is carrying out threats and terror attacks on the population.

The sanctions come days after Saturday’s twin car bombing in Mogadishu, killing more than 120 people and wounding at least 300. The insurgent group Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for two car bombs that exploded outside Somalia’s education ministry in Mogadishu.

Among those designated on Tuesday include Abdirahman Mohamed Omar. The treasury accuse Omar of being IS member and the terror group’s most active illicit arms importer in Puntland, a regional state in Somalia.

The statement said that Omar imports weapons from Yemen and conceals them in sugar and rice sacks before delivering them to terrorist organizations.

The treasury sanctioned eight others for their involvement in financing and providing weapons to terror groups.“Today, we take direct aim at the networks funding and supplying both ISIS-Somalia and al-Shabaab that support their violent acts,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson.

Nelson said the treasury is committed to working with regional partners to disrupt the financing of ISIS and al-Shabaab.  

ISIS-Somalia pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2015, led by Abdiqadr Mumin, a former senior leader of an al-Shabaab faction operating in Somalia’s Puntland region.

Terrorist organizations, including ISIS-Somalia, obtain funding and recruit members from local communities. Somalis who refuse to support their terrorist activities are punished, intimidated, and killed.