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Inside Al Shabaab’s Sh20bn tax collection ring

The Somali based terror group Al Shabaab is collecting as much tax as the government through a complicated system of levies imposed on activities from importation of goods to irrigation of crops.

Findings by Mogadishu-based Hiraal Institute show that the insurgents are collecting upto $15 million every month.

The findings are backed by more than 70 interviews with officials from the federal government, businessmen, government officials, active and defectors from Al Shabaab’s tax collection ring.

The scrutinized receipts and income reports from religious taxes and levies collected from activities such as crossing checkpoints, running businesses, irrigating or selling land and exporting or importing items.

A senior military commander from war torn country revealed to Hiraal Institute that he was forced to pay Al shabaab $3,600 in taxes to finish building his house.

The first and the second contractors had quit the job after a series of threats from the insurgents.

A former security national advisor and founder of Hiraal, Hussein Sheikh Ali told Reuters that the terrorists tax collection as been more efficient since they published their first report in 2018.

“These people are really into the business of money-making. They are strategic, they are serious, and they will look for ways to weaken their adversaries – the Somali authorities.” he said.

The Al Qaeda linked militants are raking a lot from the ports where they tax shipping the same way the government does.

Ali also added that Al shabaab makes money from zakat, an annual religious tax of 2.5% of an individual’s wealth.

The terror organization is said to be very adaptive, following and collecting taxes wherever the government does including education and healthcare.

The insurgents also call and question entities as the Chamber of Commerce and other government agencies tasked with particular brackets of taxation.

The militants have increased their earnings at the expense of Somalia government raising pertinent issues on their ability to launch attacks on the country.

Nearly 50% of their ‘earnings’ are in the capital Mogadishu where they have stepped up their collections in a worrying trend.





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