Al-Barakat or al-Barakaat (Arabic: "blessed") is a group of companies founded in Somalia in 1986 . As of 2001, al-Barakat was active in a total of 40 countries and was the largest company in Somalia; it was mainly engaged in money transfer and banking, but also telecommunications, and invested in agricultural projects, construction and hospitals. Annually up to 140 million US dollars were transferred to Somalia via al-Barakat.
The company is owned by Ahmed Nur Ali Jimale, with Abdullahi Hussein Kahie as director.
In 2001, the United States closed al-Barakat's overseas money transfer business because it accused the company of being associated with the Islamist group al-Ittihad al-Islami and of having carried out money transfers for terrorists.
Al-Barakat's money transfer business , which operates according to the informal hawala system, had its breakthrough after 1991, when the regular banking system also collapsed as a result of the Somali civil war . Hawala became the only way for Somalis living abroad to send money to relatives in Somalia. These remittances are very important to the Somali economy and many Somalis depend on them. Al-Barakat achieved a dominant position in this area.
Terrorist financing allegations
After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 , the United States suspected al-Barakat of being connected to the Islamist organization al-Ittihad al-Islami and of having carried out money transfers for terrorists. Specifically, money transfers to terrorists via the company's services should not have been prevented. As a result, in November 2001 the US forced the closure of the overseas money transfer business, although the evidence to support the allegations was sparse. This initially had serious consequences for the Somali economy and for Somalis who were dependent on remittances. Other providers soon filled the gap in the market.
Two people were arrested in Guantánamo in connection with al-Barakat . The Kazakh Ilkham Turdbyavich Batayev was imprisoned for four years until his release in 2006, partly because he worked as a "cashier" in an al-Barakat branch in Uzbekistan . The Somali Mohammed Sulaymon Barre , who was imprisoned until 2009, had lived in a Pakistani refugee camp and worked for the hawala company Dahabshiil , which had been certified as having links to al-Barakat. Barre had fought for his release through a habeas corpus .
In 2006, the US dropped the terrorist financing allegations against al-Barakat, but at the time more than $ 9 million of the company was still blocked in the US. Only fourteen years later, on February 12, 2020, did the USA remove the group of companies from their list of economically sanctioned foreign companies.
With effect from October 22, 2009, the UN sanctions committee removed al-Barakat from its consolidated list, stating that thousands of Somalis should receive outstanding blocked payments.
After Al-Barakat was incapacitated, the company was liquidated and his property was sold to a group of entrepreneurs. They founded the company Hormuud, which subsequently became the largest telecommunications company in Somalia. The United Nations Monitoring Group for Somalia and Eritrea (MG) in 2011 alleged that among the 3,000 shareholders Hormuud was the founder of Al-Barakat, Ahmed Nur Ali Jimale , and that the purpose of the new establishment was to evade sanctions. The UN Security Committee followed this view.
Accusations that Hormuud is connected to the terrorist militia al-Shabaab have not yet been proven. Hormuud Telecom alleges that the Kenyan military has repeatedly destroyed its radio masts in southern Somalia. The reason for this could be that Kenya is trying to prevent attacks by Al-Shabaab via radio transmitters and the transfer of money to the terrorist group. Al-Shabaab also ordered the company to shut down its network in 2010.
- Devesh Kapur, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development / G24: Remittances, the New Development Mantra? (2004; PDF file; 4 kB)
- BBC News: Somalia: The land of opportunity (November 2001)
- BBC News: Somalia proposal to end bank misery (2002)
- BBC News: US ends Somali banking blacklist (2006)
- Reinhard Wolff, taz.de: Terror money flows back , October 28, 2009
- ↑ City Life: Mogadishu: Mobiles mean business amid the ruins. May 17, 1999, accessed February 13, 2020 .
- ↑ Counterterrorism Designations Removals. Retrieved February 13, 2020 .
- ^ Abdi Ismail Samatar: An odious affair: The UN in Somalia. Retrieved February 13, 2020 .
- ↑ Security Council Committee on Somalia and Eritrea Adds One Individual to List of Individuals and Entities | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases. Retrieved February 13, 2020 .
- ↑ UN links Kenyan military to attacks on Somalia's top telecom. November 15, 2019, accessed February 13, 2020 .
- ^ Somalia Powerless to Stop Al-Shabaab Mobile Internet Shutdown. March 30, 2015, Retrieved February 13, 2020 (UK English).