The authorities in South West state vowed to take legal actions against Al-shabab sympathizers amid reports that locals seek redress in Al-shabab courts. The state’s Information minister, Ugas Hassan said the involvement of some local is complicating the security challenge.
Hassan accused the traders in the region of collaborating with Al-shabab fighters in the remote areas. “We believe Al-shabab are being supported by some people in South west state. They are financed by Somali traders and even give information about the government and the residents in these areas,” said Hussein. Alshabaab courts ” Even, we have cases where people met with Al-shabab leaders for discussion about the group’s affairs,” he added.
The minister has cautioned the locals against seeking redress in Al-shabab courts. ” We are aware that Some people go to Al-shabab areas to submit land dispute cases at Al-shabab courts. We will take legal action against anyone found of having relationship with Al-shabab courts,” vowed the minister. Al-shabab is reportedly to have been making thousand dollars by imposing taxes on traders in South and central Somalia following the loss of the lucrative sea ports to Somali National Army and AMISOM troops.
A CNN investigation released last week said that group is extorting thousands of dollars per day through roadblocks and taxes on merchants. This week, Hirshabele state has arrested over fifteen traders in Jowhar for meeting with Al-shabab.
The traders were released following concerted effort by elders said they were ordered to pay taxes and Zakat to Al-shabab during the meeting with the group. Somali government made attempts to impose boycott on the group as the operations against the fighters are gearing up.