The fight against Al-Qaida associates, the Al-Shabaab militants could take decades before peace keeping missions accomplish their long-term objectives in Somali, a report launched on Friday in Nairobi states.
Al-Shabaab militants have been causing havoc within and outside Somalia, masterminding some of the worst terror attacks within East Africa for a decade now.
A report by International Policy Group has implicated Somali's largest telecommunication company; Hormuud Telecom of funding Al-Shabaab activities through huge transfer of money.
Dubbed 'Reaping the Whirlwind Hormuud Entrepreneursand the Resurgence of Al-Shabaab', the report gives blow by blow account on how the company has allegedly been financing the terror group's operations.
Businessman Ali Ahmed, formerly of Islamic Union, who apparently owns majority shares in the company, is accused of authorizing funding of Al-Shabaab.
"In September 2010, Ali Ahmed Nur Jim’ale (Jim’ale) founded ZAAD, a mobile-to-mobile money-transfer business that struck a deal with AlShabaab to make money transfers more anonymous by eliminating the need to show identification," the report reads.
In February 2014, Al-Shabaab operatives stormed into the headquarters of Hormuud in Jilib town, arrested all the mobile phone company’s workers and threatened to kill them if they did not shut down the network and stop the data services.
According to the report, Hormuud is the greatest financier of Al-Shabaab, paying an estimated $200,000 every month to the group. Al-Shabaab makes at least $100 million annually through illicit taxation and external funding, the group said in a series of tweets.
In what could further strain Kenya's relationship with Somalia, Hormuud Telecom is also accused of penetrating Kenyan space by controlling Communication business in North Eastern Kenya.
A number of money transfer companies with links to Hormuud Telecom have been dragged into the explosive report, a move that could lead to their closure in Kenya.
"41% of workers of Hormuud Telecom, Taaj Express, Salaam Bank iyo and Dahabshiil Money Transfer collaborate directly or indirectly and pay taxes to Al-Shabaab," says the report.
Humanitarian organisations have not been spared either, with I indicating that they have been remitting funds to the terror group against the international law.
As part of registration and security fee, the report adds, these groups end up parting with $40,000 annually to the terror group.
"The paper reports that some humanitarian organizations pay registration and security fees of up to $20,000, every six months to Al-Shabaab."
Illicit charcoal trade in Somalia has been reported also as one of the income generating activity for Al-Shabaab. This is despite the fact that most areas are closely guarded by AMISOM forces.
In September this year, Hormuud Telecom accused Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) of destroying her infrastructure and killing a number of staff members.
Despite the complaint, KDF did not issue any rebuttal to the claims. But a source within the security trips confessed that the military is privy to Hormuud's 'fishy activities' in Somalia.
"For the 12th time this year, KDF has detonated our masts in Aws-Karun at Gedo region of Jubbaland. The attack took place on August 22nd. The troops used powerful machines to destroy the equipment," the company wrote.
"In an earlier attack, the KDF troops killed one of our staff and injured others. These unlawful acts by KDF amounts to war crimes and will turnish the effort of international community to stabilise Somalia."
The company's plight was however backed by Congresswoman IIhan Omar, who accused Kenya of illegally destroying the infrastructure, adding that such actions would sabotage the economy.
Ms Omar, a Somali refugee in the US, further asked the Federal Goverment to 'seek answers and retribution' following the destruction of Hormuud infrastructure.
"Somali government and peacekeeping forces, need to protect @Hormuud and the Somali telecom industry as they make enormous contribution to the economy and provide vital services. During my visit to Somalia in 2011, I was surprised by the quick evolution of technology in Somalia," she said.
"Finally, the destruction of vital infrastructure is harmful not only to the Somali/Kenya relationship, but to future investment in Somalia’s economy. I urge the Somali government to continue to seek answers and retribution."
Al-Shabaab has intensified attacks on Kenyan soil, with the IPG report directly implicating Hormuud Telecom to financing Al-Shabaab militants who attacked Dusit D2 Hotel early this year in Nairobi.
Kenya has deployed over 4,000 soldiers for peace keeping mission in Somalia. The troops are expected to withdraw from the Horn of Africa nation by 2021 after transitioning duties to Somali National Army.