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Somali President signs crucial security laws in boost to war on Al-Shabaab

Storyline:National News, Security

GOOBJOOG NEWS|MOGADISHU: President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud assented to two crucial bills seen as crucial to bolstering his campaign against Al-Shabaab.

The President signed into law the Financial Sanctions Act and the National Intelligence and Security Act. The two laws are central to the President’s multi-pronged campaign against Al-Shabaab which encompasses a military offensive, financial sanctions and ideological warfare.

The Law provides a legal framework for the government to target Al-Shabaab financing including and not limited to its financial transactions, businesses and properties. The government will now be able to impose financial sanctions including assets and finance freeze to designated individuals and groups noted to be in business with Al-Shabaab.

However, the intricate organisation nature of Al-Shabaab makes it difficult to distinguish businesses affiliated with the group and those that are not thus exposing innocent traders to such legal actions. The Sanctions Law complements Anti Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Act which came into law in 2018.

National Intelligence

The National Intelligence and Security Act entrenches the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) into law. The agency was formed through a government policy in 2007 when Al-Shabaab sprung up and has been instrumental in intelligence gathering, counter-terrorism and military operations.  However, the agency has variously been accused of serving the interests of the executive by intimidating the opposition and other dissenting voices.

In furtherance of the President’s war on terror, the Lower House on Wednesday passed the Anti-Terorism Act ending a debate spanning over a decade on the legitimacy of that law. The Security Minister tabled the law in August 2017 before the Lower House following accusations that it was going to be used to advance US interests in its war on terror with the intent of illegally targeting Somalis. The Bill now moves to the Upper House and subsequently to Villa Somalia for signing.

The President also signed into law the Electricity Act which is a crucial law for the regulation and development of the electricity sector. The cost of electricity in Somalia has been billed as one of the highest in the world with some companies charging up to $1 per kilowatt.