Businesses in Somalia continue to suffer as Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab and pro-Islamic State militants in Somalia continue to engage in an economic war.
Somali businessmen and business sector is getting cut down in the crossfire as the rivalry between Al-Shabaab and Islamic State Somalia (ISS) engage to outdo each other. The supremacy battles has now seen the two rival groups targeting companies to an unprecedented degree with demands for taxes to fund their respective activities.
Over the years, Al-Shabaab has forcibly targeted businesses from across Somalia regions to finance its war against the Somali government and the African peacekeeping troops protecting it. Now, Al-Shabaab is stepping its demand to keep up with the growing threat of being out-shined by pro-ISIS groups who apparently have copied Al-Shabaab’s tactics of pay up-or-pay the consequences to fund their terror activities.
The two groups are leaving trails of bodies for those refusing to pay up the taxes as warning. Recently, ISS linked militants killed a telecommunication official in Bosaso Puntaland for not paying up. The ISS militants are said to be behind the more recent shootings of at least eight employees of Hormuud, the country’s largest telecommunications company.
In another incident, Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the shooting of businessman Nur Khayre Gutale on October 29 in Mogadishu though they said they killed him for his involvement in Parliament selections in early 2017.
According to a former NISA director, businesses are struggling for forcibly paying up to three taxes a day. That is, Al-Shabaab taxes, Daesh [ISS] taxes and the normal government taxes.
According to the director, the businessmen who are paying these three taxes and started their businesses with a small amount are going to be forced to flee to neighboring countries because the businesses won’t be able to sustain these taxes and remain profitable.
In turn if they don’t pay, they will be targeted, as well as their children and wealth,” he said.”The punishment is death. They have to choose between the two, the former NISA director adds noting the rivalry situation between the two Islamists groups if not stopped will hurt the business environment in Somalia.