Amniyat, the elite intelligence unit of the Somali terrorist organization al-Shabaab, received 100,000 USD from Somali businessmen based in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E. to carry out a wave of assassinations in Mogadishu, according to a UN report.
The money was remitted between October to December 2012 with bombings and suicide attacks conducted from January to April of 2013. At least 22 people were assassinated in Mogadishu as a result of the operation.
The following findings come from the July report of the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, with internal citations omitted:
26. The Monitoring Group was also provided with confidential information regarding the preparation at the end of 2012 and the partial execution of a large-scale assassination operation by an Amniyat cell in Mogadishu. The objective was to mobilize a team of 25 Amniyat operatives to conduct a wave of assassinations of national intelligence officers and members of the Federal parliament. To that end, money was collected amongst supporters of Al-Shabaab within the Somali business community in Qatar and sent via Dahabshil, a money remittance company, to Mogadishu, where it was received by the Amniyat Finance Officer in Mogadishu, Ali Mohammed Ali ‘Abdullahi’, and delivered to the Amniyat commander in charge of the operation.
27. The Monitoring Group had further access to three additional cases in which cash U.S. dollars were collected from the Somali business communities in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and transferred by remittance companies to Mogadishu, with the knowledge and aim of financing terrorist activity in Somalia, and specifically to support Amniyat operations in Mogadishu. In the period October to December 2012, the aggregate amount transferred for the four operations was approximately 100,000 USD. In addition to spreading fear amongst the population and government officials, Somali businessmen in the diaspora supporting Amniyat assassinations may serve to achieve ulterior goals, whether clan revenge or elimination of business competitors or political opponents.
28. In a press communiqué dated 18 April 2013, the so-called Press Office of Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the killing of “127 Somali intelligence agents, officials and spies in Mogadishu”, and for the subsequent resignation of the head of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) of Somalia, Ahmad Mo’alim Fiqi. It further stated that the assassination campaign was conducted by the “Mujahideen counter-intelligence teams” in Mogadishu, and led by the “Muhammad Ibn Maslamah Brigade”. The phrase “counter-intelligence teams” is in reference to Amniyat. However, the high casualty figure appears to be propaganda, since, according to UN statistics, only 22 individuals were assassinated by Al-Shabaab in Mogadishu between January and March 2013.
Amniyat answers directly to the chief of al-Shabaab. Amniyat’s clandestine cell structure is designed to avoid detection and survive even if al-Shabaab itself were destroyed.
Amniyat financing from Persian Gulf countries suggests independence from conventional al-Shabaab revenue sources of local taxation and money laundered through Al Hijra (Muslim Youth Center) by the Pumwani Riyadha Mosque Committee in Kenya.