Kerry says US ‘will never stop’ hunting extremists
A Somali intelligence official said the target of the raid at Barawe, about 110 miles south of Mogadishu, was a Chechen commander, who had been wounded and his guard killed. Police said a total of seven people were killed.
The New York Times quoted witnesses as saying that the firefight lasted more than an hour, with helicopters called in for air support.
The paper quoted a senior Somali government official as saying that the government "was pre-informed about the attack."
Earlier, al Shabaab militants said British and Turkish special forces had raided Barawe, killing a rebel fighter, but that a British officer had also been killed and others wounded.
Libya, Somali raids signal US wont forget attacks: Kerry
- A separate raid was launched before dawn against a Shebab leader in the southern Somali port of Barawe. It failed to capture the senior militant and it was unclear whether he had been killed, but a US official said several Shebab members were slain.
- In Libya US forces seized a militant known as Abu Anas al-Libi, a long-sought Al-Qaeda operative indicted in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
The group, whose name means the Youth in Arabic, was once the militant youth wing of a coalition of Islamist forces that held sway in parts of Somalia more than half a decade ago. The country has had no real functional central government for over two decades, and the Islamists, for a time, provided a veneer of security and stability despite the harshness of the Shari‘a they sought to impose. That control slipped following a series of offensives spearheaded by the African Union, beginning with an Ethiopian-led invasion in 2006.
Until 2012, al-Shabaab ran the port city of Kismayo, and it made a bunch of money from a racketeering business that exploited the city's thriving coal industry. But after foreign forces kicked the group out of Somalia's capital and Kismayo, it lost much of this revenue...According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the group also gets funding from kidnapping operations and allied terrorist groups.
The role of Al Shabaab in ivory trafficking is of immense concern. The harsh environment in which they operate, deprived of natural resources or infrastructure to raid (such as in eastern DRC or the Niger delta), makes ivory and rhino horn trade that much more important.Shabaab’s role is not limited to poaching and brokerage, but is a major link in the chain, enabling them to reap huge profits from the mark-up in the trade. Shabaab’s strength and conviction to continue its fight will increase its need for fighters, arms, ammunition and other equipment, and increase its need for funds. As the West continues to fight radical terrorist organizations through seizing assets in offshore bank accounts, straw companies and “charities”, these organizations, including Al Shabaab, will rely increasingly on trafficking in contraband as a source of finance.
Since 2011, Kenya has suffered from unsustainable increases in elephant poaching in all its major elephant habitats. The rapid escalation of the threat to elephants is due to heightened levels of participation from the heavily armed poaching gangs, often hailing from Somalia, operating either for organized crime syndicates or for fundamentalist organizations. Ivory has the potential to provide an easily accessible and untraceable source of revenue to terrorist and extremist organizations in both Kenya and Somalia, providing a direct threat to the U.S. and its African allies.Wildlife managers with security experience who are operating on the ground have seen an evolution of activity that, combined with specific indicators, represents a credible and increasing threat that Al Shabaab in East Africa is gaining financial support through trading in illegal ivory.This source of finance will always be available to Al Shabaab and other Islamic terrorist organizations in East Africa as long as the security/anti-poaching deterrent on the ground is not sufficient to deny them access to it. Ivory is a source of revenue too convenient for Al Shabaab to ignore, and it would be naïve to think otherwise.
In the last few years, the increase in ivory prices fuelled by demand mainly from China has created a security situation over and above what was previously faced by wildlife authorities. In essence, anti-poaching has moved from a simple policing operation to a low-level form of counterinsurgency, increasingly involving some of the world’s most notorious and professional crime syndicates and international terrorist organizations.This has resulted in the overstretching of existing resources and a lack of sufficient deterrents on the ground. No wildlife agency in the world is set up to fight terrorism, insurgents and rebel armies, but that is what is expected of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) in the Congo and the wildlife authorities in Chad, to name but a few.
“Illegal poaching and trafficking also represent an economic and security challenge in Africa and beyond. Wildlife trafficking has become more organized, more lucrative and more dangerous than ever before. Poachers now use helicopters, automatic weapons, night vision goggles, satellite phones to overwhelm and even murder park rangers and other local authorities.”