Financial Intelligence Authority has released a report that shows terrorists are using a chain of local businesses across East Africa to fund attacks in the region. The National Risk Assessment report says terrorist funding comes from both legal and illegal businesses.
These sources include extortion, human and wildlife trafficking, drug trafficking, illegal trade of sugar, charcoal, and fuel, ransoms, and misuse of non-profit organisations (NPOs). Additionally, the report says terrorists benefit from remittances sent to Somali nationals in countries in East Africa.
Terror Groups in East Africa
According to the report, the greatest threats in the region are al-Shabaab, Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
The amount of money raised for all terror groups in the region is about $100 million. The main source of funding for al-Shabaab is piracy, migrant smuggling, foreign remittances, illegal taxation, extortion, donations, and wildlife crimes.
The report’s findings reveal that many businesses operated by Somalis in Kenya and Uganda such as remittance companies, money exchanges, and fuel stations send money to Somalia which is taxed by al-Shabaab.
For instance, the report says al-Shabaab was producing more $400 million annually, by 2014, in trade with countries such as UAE and Kenya. The terrorist group has been making $25 million yearly through taxation. The greatest source of revenue is piracy which earned them about $400 million as of 2013.
The report claims LRA receives funding from wildlife crimes, sponsorship from the Khartoum government, minerals, extortion, and looting. On the other hand, ADF funds its missions through trade, illegal mining, state sponsorship, real estate, and NPO donations.
For example, ADF received $22,811 from an NPO in the UK and the group runs real estate businesses in Kenya and Tanzania.
Mobile Money Transfers
According to the report, mobile money transfers record a high risk of being used to fund terrorist activities because they are fast and operate beyond borders. However, banks recorded the lowest vulnerability risk of being used to fund terrorism.