Report: U.N. Money Funding Al-Shabaab Jihadists Fighting U.S. Forces in Somalia

Al-Shabaab militants training

“Millions” in United Nations funds intended to help Africans displaced by conflict and famine are being diverted to support jihadists from al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab, fighting against U.S.-backed troops in Somalia, a CNN investigation has found.

Michael Keating, the U.N. chief in Somalia, acknowledged that al-Shabaab jihadists fighting U.S. troops are siphoning off U.N. funds likely subsidized by American taxpayers, telling CNN:

Unfortunately, those in need, and those who are going to be targeted by humanitarian organizations to receive assistance, do become attractive for those trying to make money, and there will be all sorts of scams going on.

To deny it is happening would be wrong, but I think to take examples of it happening, and to say the whole response is like this, would be a gross misrepresentation of what is going on.

Currently, “more than 500” American troops are fighting al-Shabaab in Somalia, notes CNN.

Of the 193 members of the United Nations, the U.S. is the most prominent donor, contributing more than $10 billion in 2016 alone, which amounted to “roughly one-fifth of its collective budget,” according to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

CNN reports:

A CNN investigation has revealed how money given directly by the United Nations to people displaced by conflict and famine is ending up in the hands of Africa’s oldest terrorist organization.

Former members of al-Shabaab and Somali intelligence agents said the terror group is extorting thousands of dollars per day through road blocks and taxes on merchants attempting to transport food and supplies to sell to internally displaced people in towns where they are concentrated.

CNN learned from a former al-Shabaab tax collector who spoke on condition of anonymity after he was captured by Somalian authorities that “the extraction of tolls at roadblocks was one of the biggest sources of money” for the jihadist group.

Individuals who refuse to pay the transportation tax to the terrorists are “captured and killed,” a former al-Shabaab fighter who collected extortion proceeds for nearly a decade, told CNN.

Currently, an estimated 22,000 U.S.-backed African Union (AU) troops are fighting the al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia.

However, the force is expected to withdraw by 2020, leaving behind a “growing number” of U.S. troops to shoulder the burden of taking on the terrorist group, points out CNN.

Under U.S. President Donald Trump, the American military has intensified operations against al-Shabaab.


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