turn over Djibouti offices of firm named by Bush
Nov 10 (AFP) - Police and government financial investigators
were Saturday raking over the Djibouti offices of Barakaat,
a firm named by the US government as "a financier of terror",
officials said. The Barakaat offices and those of another
finance company in Djibouti, the Societe Adoubrahman Tara,
have been closed since Thursday while authorities in the Horn
of Africa nation sift through their files, an AFP correspondent
George W. Bush's administration has alleged that Barakaat,
a Somali-based firm specialising in banking and telecommunications,
helped fund the activities of the Al-Qaeda network headed
by Washington's prime terror suspect Osama Bin Laden.
official in Somalia strongly denied the claim on Thursday.
The other company being inspected here, the Societe Adoubrahman
Tara, belongs to a Yemeni businessman of that name who lives
in Djibouti and has dual nationality.
registers of both these companies will be inspected to find
out the sources of funds provided for the activities of cultural
associations and Islamic charities in Djibouti, Yemen and
Somalia, as well as possible links with radical Islamic movements"
an official taking part in the investigation said, asking
not to be named.
likely that these closures will only be temporary," he added.
On Wednesday, Bush said Barakaat offices in the United States
were being shut down. "We are taking another step in our fight
shutting down two major elements of the terrorists' international
financial network, both at home and abroad," Bush said in
reference to Barakaat and another company, al-Taqwa.
Thursday, Barakaat official Abbas Abdi Ali said the Barakaat
Group of Companies was "cooperating with the FBI in Mogadishu
over the transfer of money. "Our services will not be available
until we prove our innocence," he said.
wake of raids, Somali immigrants fear for relatives
Howe, Associated Press, 11/10/2001
month, a call comes to Zaynab Awaleh's makeshift home in a
bullet-ridden former high school in Mogadishu. It is the Al-Barakaat
money tranfer agency, telling her the $100 from her uncle
in Minneapolis her sole means of support for herself and his
10-year-old son has arrived.
calls have stopped. Federal agents this week raided and shuttered
the offices of Al-Barakaat and other money-transfer businesses
in Minneapolis, Boston, Seattle and Columbus, Ohio. Neither
Awaleh nor her uncle, Abdullahi Hassan, know what happens
shaken Somali immigrants fear the worst, saying the government
raids put the lives of relatives back home in jeopardy. ''I
don't know what they'll do,'' says Hassan, who runs a storefront
business selling phone cards in a Somali mall in Minneapolis.
is the month they need the money. They are fasting. What I
send is not enough for a whole month, but it is close.'' ''He
is the only source of money we have,'' says Awaleh, 32. ''It's
a bit of a squeeze, but since that is all, we have to manage.''
The $100 is also a squeeze for Hassan, who struggled to make
a profit from a grocery store for two years before opening
his phone card business only days ago.
House said the closed hawalas networks of money traders that
operate largely on trust were helping terrorists. They said
Osama bin Laden skimmed the profits of Al-Barakaat to fund
evil. Boston-based Barakaat North America Inc. was closed
Wednesday after its owners, brothers Liban and Mohamed Hussein,
were charged with illegally operating a money transfer business
without a state license.
General John Ashcroft called the Boston business and others
around the country ''offices'' of the al-Barakaat network,
one of two organizations on a new list of entities with suspected
terrorist ties whose assets were frozen. All Awaleh and her
uncle know is that the transfer service was helping them.
Hassan says he won't even try to explain the raids to his
niece; he'll simply search for another way to get her money.
Minneapolis, which has the largest population of Somalis in
America with an estimated 25,000, people are scrambling to
find ways to get money to family members in the Horn of Africa.
''I was told my kid is sick and I don't have any way to send
my kids money,'' pleaded Faysal Olad, among a group of men
gathered outside one of the Al-Barakaat offices the morning
after the closures. ''We don't have any other way. We don't
have money to send to terrorists.
only money for our families.'' Somali refugees began pouring
into this cold northern state in the mid-1990s and their presence
has had an impact, providing needed workers during a labor
shortage, leading to new businesses and restaurants and generally
adding more diversity to an overwhelmingly homogeneous state.
of Al-Barakaat, whose owners have denied any terrorist links,
is particularly burdensome to these Somalis. Western banks
and money-wiring businesses such as Western Union have no
offices in Somalia, and Al-Barakaat is considered the only
network large enough to reach family members in remote areas
or refugee camps. Abdi Samatar, a Somali scholar at the University
of Minnesota, called the hawalas a ''lifeline'' for hundreds
of thousands of people in Somalia. ''If that lifeline is threatened,
it will be a crisis of enormous proportions, to the point
that there will be loss of life and starvation,'' Samatar
said. There are eight such remittance companies in Somalia,
but Al-Barakaat is the biggest.
Awaleh says it is the only one she has ever used. In Minneapolis,
Hassan says he has not yet found another that will work. Large
or small, the hawalas operate in essentially the same way.
A customer brings the business cash as little as $50 tells
who it is for, and pays a 5 percent handling fee.
then contacts a counterpart by phone, e-mail or fax to vouch
for the cash, and it is picked up by or delivered to the relative,
usually within a day. The cash from the individual transaction
is not sent directly to the other dealer, however. Instead
the dealers each keep a tally of the transaction and settle
up only when the ledgers fall out of unbalance. Says Samatar:
''They are both more cost-effective and more efficient in
transferring money to Somalia than the bank system.'' He said
as hawalas have expanded to villages across Somalia, they
have brought phone service and electricity with them, providing
more infrastructure than the war-ravaged government.
of terrorist ties make many in Minneapolis' Somali community
bristle. Most say they had never heard the name Osama bin
Laden until Sept. 11. And they see it as unlikely that significant
amounts of money could be funding his network when charges
for the money transfers are so low. Their loyalty, they stress,
is not to the hawalas but to their families. ''If a U.S. bank
or any other bank could be in the bushes in Somalia, we would
use them,'' said Ahmed Mohamud, who works at a Kodak office
in Minneapolis. ''As a Somali community, our need is to send
money. Whether that be Western Union or Barakaat or anyone
else, we could care less.''
are not now licensed by the state of Minnesota, and a federal
law requiring registration has never been enforced. But a
new state law will require money transmitters to post bonds
and prove a net worth of $100,000 by Jan. 1. Lawmakers sought
the law to stop money laundering, not terrorism, but concerns
about both stem from the fact that the hawala transfers leave
no electronic traces except when the dealers finally settle
and federal officials say they are confident that Somalis
have other ways to send money. But in Minneapolis the raids
closed the city's largest hawalas and the owners of several
remaining agencies have kept their businesses closed since
out of fear the government will target them next.
Friday found only one office, a franchise of the Dahab-Shiil
network, open, and several Somalis said they are afraid of
sending money now for fear it will be seized by the government
en route and never get to relatives. In Mogadishu, Awaleh
says her fate is now in the hands of Allah.
President Bush. ''It is (Bush's) government, his country.
All that I can tell him is that he has gone against the livelihoods
of the poor people like myself.''
Youth suspects reportedly forced to admit links with Bin-Ladin
Service - United Kingdom; Nov 10, 2001
reaching us from Gaalkacyo [central Somalia] say that on Thursday
[9 November 2001], 21 Somali youths, all from Mogadishu, were
arrested in the town. The youths were secretly travelling
after their arrest, they were forced to choose either to face
death penalty, be handed over to Ethiopia or to accept pre-arranged
video-taped questions and answers.
the youths refused to comply with the conditions, except one
who yielded to the third option. When asked why did he have
to accept the third option, the 20-year old youth, Muhammad
Ahmad Abdi, said he wanted to save his life.
said he was forced to say that he was in a group of 20,000
people, who were from Luuq [south-western Somalia], where
they had been taking a 60-month military training under the
supervision of two Bin-Ladin's sponsored trainers - one Afghani
and one Iraqi - and that each trainee was given 300 US dollars
to describe those who subjected him to the act, Mr Abdi said
they consisted of an official from Abdullahi Yusuf [deposed
Puntland leader] forces, some white men with two video tapes
who arrived there in a land cruiser and a journalist from
Gaalkacyo town who recorded Mr Abdi's voice. He said he did
not know the fate of his colleagues.
Southern faction leader proposes further talks in Kenya
Muhammad Nur Shatigadud [Rahanwein Resistance Army leader],
and his delegation, yesterday returned to Baydhabo [Baidoa,
south-central Somalia] after holding a meeting in Nairobi
with Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi [on 8 November].
and President Moi discussed the current situation in Somalia.
Col Shatigadud proposed that all-inclusive Somali national
reconciliation talks be held in Kenya.
President on working tour of southern region
of the Transitional Government of Somalia, Dr Abdiqasim Salad
Hasan, yesterday visited Wanle Weyne and Afgooye Districts
in Lower Shabeelle Region [Southern Somalia], as his first
trip to other regions outside Mogadishu since taking office
a year ago.
who was accompanied by the Speaker of the transitional assembly,
Abdallah Derow Isaq, the deputy prime minister, Usman Jama
Ali (Kalun) and other senior officials, addressed local area
leaders and residents who turned up in large numbers.
Government welcomes Ethiopian position on reconciliation process
Government of Somalia [TGS], has welcomed recent Ethiopian
statement, supporting the Kenyan-brokered reconciliatory talks
between the TGS and faction leaders opposed to it in Nairobi.
The TGS deputy premier, Usman Jama Kalun described the Ethiopian
statement as useful to the process of reconciliation in Somalia.
The premier appealed to the Ethiopian government to join other
IGAD [Inter-Governmental Authority on Development] member
countries and support the process.
Foreign journalists arrive in Mogadishu over terrorist
from all over the world are rushing to Somalia, particularly
Mogadishu to find out the true picture about the existence
of Al-Qa'idah group or its affiliates in Somalia.
from AP, AFP, Reuters and Financial Times economic analysts
arrived in Mogadishu yesterday.
have already begun interviewing officials of Al-Barakat [an
international money-remittance] institution, suspected by
the US administration as being one of the international terrorist
organizations whose assets had been frozen.
Agree to End Fighting, Share Power Posted
November 10, 2001 Nairobi, (African Church Information Service/All
Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -
involving all Somali clans and national disarmament were some
of the major resolutions agreed upon by delegates at a Somali
Reconciliation meeting here, chaired by President Daniel arap
meeting (November 1-4), which brought together delegates from
the Transitional National Government of President Abdulkassim
Salat Hassan and a number of political opposition parties
(factions), under the Somali Reconciliation and Restoration
Council (SRRC), also condemned violence as a means of settling
political parties pledged co-operation with the international
community in the eradication of all forms of violence. According
to a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the delegates
included politicians, intellectuals, women and youth representatives,
supported the implementation of the resolution of the 8th
IGAD (Inter-Governmental Authority on Development) Summit
of Heads of State and Government on Somalia and other relevant
Organisation of African Unity and the United nations Security
Council resolutions on the situation in Somalia.
to the Nairobi meeting also agreed that all state laws be
reviewed in accordance with the requirement of the reconciliation
process in Somalia. Meanwhile, as a gesture of the delegates'
commitment to power-sharing, President Moi re-opened the Kenya/Somalia
border he had ordered closed three months ago.
opening the meeting, the Kenyan leader promised that "if this
meeting gives us an all-inclusive government, then I will
have the border opened tomorrow".
at the end of the meeting at State House, Nairobi, President
Moi observed that the move to open the border was a goodwill
gesture from Kenyans to the people of Somalia. "You have truly
narrowed your differences significantly. This is history in
the making," the Kenyan leader told the Somali political leaders.
While ordering the closure of the Kenya-Somalia border last
July, President Moi had cited insecurity because of illegal
importation of firearms into Kenya as the reason that prompted
him to take the action.
the border, the Kenyan Head of State had effectively banned
trade across the busy Kenya-Somalia border. While opening
the meeting, President Moi emphasised the urgent need to deliberate
on the future of Somalia, lamenting the anguish, suffering
and loss of lives caused by the 10-year civil war and the
destruction of the economy and infrastructure of Somalia.
that various peace initiatives in Somalia had failed due to
clan wars, mutual mistrust and lack of an acceptable broad-based
government. President Moi had observed that under the circumstances,
Somalia could become a haven for international crime and drug
syndicates, religious extremists and terrorists, a situation
that could invite an international response.
and united government in Somalia would help check illicit
trade and arms proliferation, influx of refugees and human
trafficking", the Kenyan President observed.
faction leader Aydid reportedly holds talks with Ethiopian
from reliable sources in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, say that Husayn
Muhammad Aydid, [Mogadishu faction leader] who is one of the
SRRC's [Somali Reconciliation and Reconstruction Council]
executive committee members, has held talks with Ethiopia's
foreign minister, Mr Seyoum Mesfin.
not confirmed what the two men discussed, but reports say
that their discussions were based on matters regarding the
current situation in Somalia, and the reactions of the international
community, and the USA in particular which believes there
are terrorist groups in Somalia.
further say that Husayn Aydid held talks with foreign envoys,
among them the US ambassador to Ethiopia...