UN report accuses Somali regime of corruption as terrorism rages

A soldier looks at the body of a civilian killed by a suicide car bomb in the Somali capital Mogadishu, late on October 12, 2014. War-torn Somalia’s government remains riddled with corruption while Al-Shabaab Islamists are as deadly as ever, UN investigators warned in a damming report seen by AFP on October 13, 2014. FILE PHOTO | AFP

What you need to know:

  • The report also says that weapons sent to the national army and supposed to be used to defend the internationally-backed government have been seen on open sale in at least one market where Al-Shabaab agents bought arms
  • Meanwhile the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab have shifted tactics in the face of sustained military assaults by the 22,000-strong African Union force and repeated air strikes, including last month’s assassination of insurgent commander Ahmed Abdi Godane

NAIROBI

War-torn Somalia’s government remains riddled with corruption while Al-Shabaab Islamists are as deadly as ever, UN investigators warned in a damning report seen by AFP on Monday.

The report also says that weapons sent to the national army and supposed to be used to defend the internationally-backed government have been seen on open sale in at least one market where Al-Shabaab agents bought arms.

Underlying corruption as a system of governance has not yet fundamentally changed and, in some cases, arguably has worsened,” the new report by the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea said.

The UN Security Council last year allowed a partial lifting of an arms embargo on Somalia to allow the national army to rearm, but “some of the weapons and ammunition have been diverted to arms markets in Mogadishu”, the report said.

TACTICAL SHIFT

Financially, the UN experts said they had "consistently found patterns of misappropriation with diversion rates of between 70 and 80 per cent."

“The indications are that diverted funds are used for partisan agendas that constitute threats to peace and security,” said the 482-page confidential report, which was provided by a UN source.

Around a third of revenues from the capital Mogadishu’s busy seaport, a key source of income totalling millions of dollars for the internationally funded government, cannot be accounted for.

Meanwhile the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab have shifted tactics in the face of sustained military assaults by the 22,000-strong African Union force and repeated air strikes, including last month’s assassination of insurgent commander Ahmed Abdi Godane.

But air and drone strikes are doing little to damage the militia in the long term.

“Strategic strikes have in general resulted in short term gains but significantly failed to diminish Al-Shabaab’s operation capacity,” the report read.

“There is no current evidence that they have the potential to ‘degrade and destroy’ Al-Shabaab.”

REGIONAL THREAT
At home, the Al-Shabaab have increased their use of bombs including the “noticeable” introduction of magnetic vehicle bombs, a tactic previously more commonly used in Afghanistan and Iraq, and which “may represent a transfer of battlefield knowledge to Somalia,” it added.

The report also says the Al-Shabaab, who carried out the September 2013 massacre in the Kenyan capital Nairobi’s Westgate mall, continue to pose a regional threat.

Meanwhile, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said Monday that a car bomb which killed at least 13 people the day before was an act of “desperation” by Al-Shabaab insurgents.

The attack took place on Sunday evening on a busy road leading to the government district, outside a popular cafe.

“It shows the desperation of Al-Shabaab because they are only hurting innocent civilians,” Mr Mohamud said in a statement.

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