The government has also ordered the closure of 13 money transfer firms and frozen bank accounts of 85 individuals and entities.
The Kenyan government has taken another draconian measure in fighting the al- Shabab insurgents who last week attacked the Garissa University and killed 148 people. After bombing al-Shabab bases in Somalia close to the Kenyan border, the government has gone further to order the closure of 13 money transfer firms to prevent al-Shabab militants from using them to finance attacks and has also frozen the bank accounts of 85 individuals and entities, BBC reported citing the Kenyan Interior Minister, Joseph Nkaissery.
Entities targeted include a Somali-linked bus company and hotel. Reports say the 85 individuals and entities put on an officially published list had 24 hours to demonstrate why their bank accounts should not be frozen. They include leading money transfer firm Dahabshill, which has repeatedly denied links with militant Islamists. BBC said the list is headed by Mohamed Kuno, a former Islamic school teacher in Garissa and the alleged mastermind of the university attack. A reward of about 215,000 U.S Dollars has been offered for information leading to Mr Kuno’s arrest.
Somalis around the world rely heavily on money transfer firms, known as “hawalas”, to do business and to send money to relatives because of the almost non-existent banking sector in Somalia. The Somali money transfer agencies in Kenya through their spokesman, Abdi Ali have expressed the determination to oppose government moves to shut them down. “To us, it is only a ministerial directive which is sent to the central bank. We will talk to the Kenyan government about this issue and use its justice system to settle the matter,” BBC quoted Abdi Ali as having said.
Kenyan officials are said to have repeatedly accused Somalis living mostly in the capital, Nairobi and north-east where the Garissa University attack occurred of colluding with the al-Shabab militants. The Somalis however, say most of them are law-abiding citizens of Kenya, and they have also bore the brunt of al-Shabab’s insurgency.
Source : Cameroon Tribune