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President Mohamud urges Lower House to expedite laws to fight terrorism

Storyline:National News, Security

GOOBJOOG NEWS|MOGADISHU: President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has called on the Lower House to expedite legislation to bolster the government’s war against the militant group Al-Shabaab.

Speaking during a meeting with the speaker of the Lower House and House Standing Committees, President Mohamud said parliament was integral in stabilising the country.

Among the laws the President targets are those aimed at strengthening regulations on anti-terrorism financing and money laundering. Somalia passed the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Terrorism Financing (AMLCF) law in 2016 but analysts say the law is not watertight enough to cut off terrorism financing.

According to a 2021 report by the Mogadishu-based security think tank, Hiiraal Institute Al-Shabaab spent $24 million in that year alone to purchase weapons. Previous UN reports have indicated that the group generates millions of dollars through the extortion of businesses and illicit taxes on vehicles, livestock and commercial and residential buildings in the country.

The government said last month it has frozen several bank accounts operated by the militant group but did not indicate where the accounts were located. Commercial banks are required to notify the Financial Reporting Centre of any transactions of over $10,000.

However, a recent UN Panel of Experts report said Al-Shabaab manages to circumvent this mechanism but transferring funds in small tranches of a maximum of $9,500 thus evading the FRC threshold.