Treasury sanctions IS-Somalia weapons traffickers, al-Shabab

Oct 31, 2022, 8:07 PM | Updated: Nov 1, 2022, 11:59 am
FILE - The Treasury Building is viewed in Washington, May 4, 2021.  The Treasury Department has ann...

FILE - The Treasury Building is viewed in Washington, May 4, 2021. The Treasury Department has announced sanctions against a weapons trafficking network affiliated with the Islamic State group in Somalia and the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group, which are accused of carrying out terrorist acts on civilians. The move to freeze and block transactions with U.S. entities comes after two car bombings at a busy junction in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, killed more than 120 people last week. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department announced sanctions Tuesday against a weapons trafficking network affiliated with the Islamic State group in Somalia and the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group, which are accused of carrying out deadly terrorist acts on civilians including car bombings.

The move to freeze and block any potential transactions with U.S. entities comes after two car bombings at a busy junction in Somalia’s capital on Saturday killed at least 120 people.

Al-Shabab, which often targets the capital, Mogadishu, and controls large parts of the country, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying its objective was to hit the education ministry.

These are the first sanctions on Somalia’s Islamic State group network from Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The State Department designated IS-Somalia in 2018 as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists.”

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Tuesday said the sanctions were intended to underscore the administration’s commitment to helping Somalia in its fight against terrorism.

He said the Treasury Department sanctions “aimed to expose and disrupt a broad network of weapons traffickers, their associates and an affiliated business operating primarily between Yemen and Somalia.”

On Oct. 17, the U.S. imposed financial penalties on more than a dozen people from Somalia and Yemen who it said were involved in al-Shabab’s financing operations. Those funds are used to help with weapons procurement and recruitment activities.

Violent acts have increased in recent months. Islamic extremist fighters in early October targeted a Somali government headquarters in the Hiran region, leaving at least 20 people dead and 36 wounded in a town at the center of a recent mobilization against the extremists.

Saturday’s bombing in Mogadishu injured more than 320 people, and some were still missing.

“We extend our heartfelt condolences to all who lost loved ones and were injured in Saturday’s horrific attack and strongly condemn this indefensible act of terrorism,” Treasury Undersecretary Brian Nelson said. “Today, we take direct aim at the networks funding and supplying both ISIS-Somalia and al-Shabaab that support their violent acts.”

The Islamic State group sometimes is known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

ISIS-Somalia is a far smaller operation than al-Shabab, with members numbering in the hundreds as opposed to several thousand at least for al-Shabab. Both engage in extortion and have competed for business, even killing members of the other group at times. The sanctions announcement gives insight into links between the groups.

The weapons networks targeted by the sanctions “operate primarily between Yemen and Somalia and have strong ties to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and al-Shabab,” the Treasury Department said. But one person sanctioned, Osama Abdelmongy Abdalla Bakr, went as far as to pursue contacts with North Korean officials in search of weapons and support, it said.

“ISIS did not receive lightweight weapons, anti-drone technology, or anything else from the DPRK,” also known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Treasury said.

The announcement also gives a glimpse into smuggling operations. One sanctioned ISIS-Somalia member, Abdirahman Mohamed Omar, takes AK-47 assault rifles and machine guns out of nearby Yemen and hides them under ice and fish, and in Somalia the weapons are hidden in sugar and rice sacks and loaded onto camels for delivery to al-Shabab and ISIS-Somalia, the announcement said.

Also sanctioned was Mohamed Ahmed Qahiye, the head of ISIS-Somalia’s intelligence wing, the Amniyat.

___

Anna contributed from Nairobi, Kenya. Associated Press writer Aamer Madhani contributed.

Follow the AP’s coverage of the Islamic State group at https://apnews.com/hub/islamic-state-group and al-Shabab at https://apnews.com/hub/al-shabab.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Shoppers looking for bargains enter an OshKosh children clothing store, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, in M...
Anne D'Innocenzio and Cora Lewis, Associated Press

Shoppers hunt for deals but inflation makes bargains elusive

Consumers holding out for big deals -- and some much-needed relief from soaring costs on just about everything -- may be disappointed as they head into the busiest shopping season of the year.
17 hours ago
FILE - The Twitter splash page is seen on a digital device, Monday, April 25, 2022, in San Diego.  ...
Associated Press

Musk plans to relaunch Twitter premium service, again

Elon Musk said Friday that Twitter plans to relaunch its premium service that will offer different colored check marks to accounts next week.
17 hours ago
FILE - A school of fish swim above corals on Moore Reef in Gunggandji Sea Country off the coast of ...
Associated Press

Australia argues against ‘endangered’ Barrier Reef status

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s environment minister said Tuesday her government will lobby against UNESCO adding the Great Barrier Reef to a list of endangered World Heritage sites. Officials from the U.N. cultural agency and the International Union for Conservation of Nature released a report on Monday warning that without “ambitious, rapid and sustained” climate […]
17 hours ago
FILE - Dylan Brandt speaks at a news conference outside the federal courthouse in Little Rock, Ark....
Associated Press

Landmark trial over Arkansas youth gender care ban resumes

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A psychiatrist called to the stand by Arkansas as the state defends its ban on gender-affirming care for children said Monday he was concerned about the impact the law could have on some transgender youth who would see their treatments cut off. Dr. Stephen Levine, a psychiatrist at Case Western […]
17 hours ago
FILE - Oregon Sen. Brian Boquist poses in his office in the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, Ore., We...
Associated Press

Oregon lawmakers lift security measure imposed on senator

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — On Monday an Oregon Senate panel rescinded the protective measure it had imposed on a state senator after he made threatening statements during an acrimonious 2019 legislative session, in a case that centers on free speech. Since July 2019, Sen. Brian Boquist had been required to give 12 hours notice before […]
17 hours ago
FILE - Mourners visit a makeshift memorial on Aug. 12, 2019, near the Walmart in El Paso, Texas, wh...
Associated Press

Embattled Texas prosecutor over 2019 Walmart attack resigns

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A Texas prosecutor facing mounting criticism over the handling of the 2019 Walmart mass shooting in El Paso that killed 23 people resigned Monday after the county took the extraordinary step of seeking to remove her from elected office. El Paso County District Attorney Yvonne Rosales, a Democrat who was […]
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Treasury sanctions IS-Somalia weapons traffickers, al-Shabab