Somali withdrawal rush at Dahabshiil branches

Published On: Friday, April, 05 2013 - 22:54:28 This post has been viewed 2321 times

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Hirsi, who is also a senior manager of Dahabshiil's subsidiary telecommunication firm, SomTel, was arrested in 2008 on suspicion of terrorism.

Mogadishu (Sunatimes) After a powerful bomb exploded outside the headquarters of Dahabshiil in Mogadishu on Tuesday, hundreds of concerned Somalis queued outside branches in southern Somalia to withdraw their money.

Depositors and remittance receivers demanded their money from the financial institution but many were unable to access their funds. In an effort to slow down people cleaning out their accounts, Dahabshiil closed most of its branches in the south of the country citing security threats.

Dahabshiil denied disrupting services while down playing the looming financial woes. Leaked information said the bank ordered to freeze all transfers until further notice on Tuesday.

The explosion triggered by a remote-controlled device injured two guards and came hours after verbal threats from al Shabab militants. Issued by Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur, a senior commander, the threat also called on Somalis in much of central and southern Somalia to boycott the financial institution.

This was reechoed by another senior al Shabab leader, Mahad Warsame Qalley Karate, head of the group's assassins. "Every six months, Dahabshiil used to pay $500,000 (USD). They have refused to pay that money and insist on paying $100,000. To make matter worse, they have joined with infidel governments to offer rewards and bounty on the heads of Mujahideen leaders. This was discovered by al Shabab intelligence," he said.

People fearing for their lives this week urged their relatives abroad to send their monthly income by other alternatives including other Somali money transfer companies.

"I am fearful of visiting Dahabshiil branches because these guys (al Shabab) can carry out suicide attacks at any given time," remittance receiver Mohamed Haji told local Galmudug News.

It is not just Dahabshiil's Mogadishu branches who will be out of pocket. Their clients in Bay, Bakol, Hiiraan, Lower and Middle Shabelle regions have not been shielded from the threats.

Investigators from the Somali Federal government and its ally Ahlu Sunna group said the explosion that rocked the bank's headquarter was an inside job. They revealed that due to international pressure for Dahabshiil to come clean of its links to al Shabab, the bank planted the bomb itself to make it appear that it was under attack. It is believed that Dahabshiil has close working ties to “al Afghani” Ibrahim Haji Jama Mead (Ibrahim Afghani), a rival faction of al Shabab to Mukhtar Robow.

In recent times, Dahabshiil and Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland have been accused of sponsoring terrorism by intelligence groups. The findings have prompted the United States and the United Kingdom to both issue early this year separate travel warnings to the breakaway state. The leader of Somaliland, Ahmed Silanyo, was secretly asked to take practical steps against terrorism by Western governments. Somali leaders including the Puntland region accused Somaliland leadership of not being sincere in efforts to fight terrorism.

Just months ago, the minister of Presidency, Hirsi Ali Haji Hassan, released more than eleven suspected terrorists from Somaliland prisons. The suspects include the murderers of an Italian aid worker who was shot dead in 2003 in Somaliland region. Hirsi, who is also a senior manager of Dahabshiil's subsidiary telecommunication firm, SomTel, was arrested in 2008 on suspicion of terrorism.

Dahabshiil and Ahmed Silanyo, who has shares in the bank, are feeling huge pressure from the international community. The bank fears of its assets being frozen.

Source: Galmudugnews.com in Somali Version, translate by Sunatimes.com

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