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Despite an international effort to degrade the group, the militants control swaths of the countryside and use threats of violence to collect taxes in territory under their jurisdiction.
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Mogadishu government on Saturday threatened to sanction businesses that pay extortion money to Al-Shabaab, looking to choke a lucrative cash pipeline the Islamist militants use to fund a deadly insurgency.
Somalia's ministry of commerce and industry said the full force of the law would be brought against traders who pay the Al-Qaeda ally, which experts say raises millions of dollars through a complex and extensive taxation system.
The ministry said any business found to have paid or collaborated with Al-Shabaab in any way would "face legal action" including having their government-issued trading permits revoked.
"Any merchant who obeys instructions issued by the terrorists, and pays them income, will never be allowed to do business in Somalia again," the ministry said in a letter to traders.
"Any company found to involve members of Al-Shabaab, or that sponsors their merchandise, will have their property including real estate confiscated by the government."
Al-Shabaab has been trying to overthrow the central government in Mogadishu for more than 15 years and regularly stages deadly bombings and armed attacks on civilian and military targets.
Despite an international effort to degrade the group, the militants control swaths of the countryside and use threats of violence to collect taxes in territory under their jurisdiction.Source:/AFP
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