6601Somalia: US Bankrolls Somali Warlords to Fight Al-Qaeda: Report
- May 6, 2006US Bankrolls Somali Warlords to Fight Al-Qaeda: Report
NAIROBI, May 5, 2006 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies)
The United States is bankrolling Somali warlords to
hunt down or kill foreign fighters and "Islamic
extremists" belonging to Al-Qaeda in Somalia, US
officials have revealed.
"Basically we're paying militias to pick people off,"
a US official told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on
condition of anonymity on Friday, May 5.
Coordinated by the US embassy in Kenya, the US program
envisages funds to Somali warlords to hunt down what
Washington believes to be "Al-Qaeda operatives,"
according to US officials.
The program has also shared intelligence satellite
imagery, photographs and communications intercepts
about "terrorist" activities in Somalia.
"The main objective is to neutralize the Al-Qaeda
threat that is there," said another senior US
official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity due
to the sensitive nature of the program.
Despite declining to comment, senior officials of the
US embassy in Nairobi acknowledged contacts with the
They stressed that the US outreach was broad and not
limited to just them.
Western intelligence agencies believe three or four
Al-Qaeda operatives are now holed up in Somalia,
"Al-Qaeda is running amok there and we want to stop
them," a US official said.
Under the program, US diplomats have met leaders of
various Somali groups to urge them to turn over
But special interest and support have been given to
the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and
Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT), a coalition of Mogadishu
warlords formed in February to fight the Islamic
current in the lawless country, officials noted.
"The alliance was an idea that was kicked around last
year and we were not absent from those discussions,"
said one US official, referring to talks between
warlords that led to the creation of the alliance.
US officials declined to discuss specifics of their
support for the alliance.
But informed sources in Somalia said that former US
military and intelligence officials with experience in
Somalia have brought large satchels of cash to
Mogadishu to fund the alliance.
Recent recruits say the alliance is paying them 200 to
300 dollars per month, an unusually high salary in the
ARPCT officials did not deny receiving funds from the
"The alliance will accept moral and material support
from anybody but it is purely a national initiative
serving the interests of peace in Somalia," said
Mogadishu warlord Mohamed Qanyare Afrah, a founding
member of the coalition.
He claimed that foreign fighters were operating in the
"No one can deny the presence of foreign fighters and
the ARPCT will not stop until those elements have been
surrendered," he told AFP.
A government source had told IslamOnline.net four
cameras linked to solar cells and state-of-the-art
equipment had been installed on the depopulated rocky
island of Burr Gaabo by US intelligence as part of the
US-led "global war on terror".
Somalia's transitional government has slammed the US
program, saying it is hindering efforts to united the
"The United States thinks that these warlords can
seize Al-Qaeda members in Somalia, but the Americans
should work with us instead," Reuters quoted Somali
President Yusuf Ahmed Abdullahi as saying.
"We really oppose American aid which goes outside the
The Somali President was elected in 2004 by MPs
sitting in Kenya, but his rule has been opposed by
several of the warlords.
Since the 1991 fall of Mohammed Siad Barre, Somalia
has fallen into a bloody civil war.
The African country has lacked almost all the
trappings of a functional state, such as national
systems of education, healthcare and justice.
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