The government of Kenya has closed 13 firms that transfer money for Somalis in order to stop militant Islamists from being able to finance their attacks on their borders. The financial accounts of 85 people and organizations have also been frozen. This includes a Somali-linked hotel and bus company. Abdullahi Abdi in Nairobi believes that other Somali hotel and transportation companies are at risk of punishment as well. Also, Muslim clerics and human rights organizations could possibly have their bank accounts frozen too. This is in response to the Garissa University Massacre last week that killed 148 people.
An official published list has been made public of the 85 individuals and organizations who have all have been given 24 hours to prove why the Kenyan government should stop the freeze on their accounts. Dahabshill is a money transfer firm that has continuously denied any links with militant Islamist groups. At the top of the list is the alleged commander of the university attack, Mohamed Kuno, who had previously been a teacher at the University.
The Kenyan government has often accused Somalis, who live in Kenya, of helping the militants. Approximately 500,000 Somalian refugees have feed there. They ran from war and drought in Somalia. Kenya also has its own Somali population. They live in the northeast where the university massacre happened, as well as in Nairobi. Most of the Somalis in Kenya follow the law, and they also suffered most of the impact of al-Shabab’s insurrection. They strongly disagree with the overall punishment of the Somali people.
Somalis all over the world depend tremendously on those firms to transfer money, called “hawalas”. They are used to do business, and send cash to families. Somalia’s bank sector is predominately non-existent. Abdi Ali, spokesman for Somali money transfer firms in Kenya, said the Somalis would strongly oppose any moves to shut them down. It is a clerical directive that is sent to the central bank. He said they will talk to the Kenyan government and use its own system to settle the issue.
Kenyan troops were sent into Somalia to fight the Shabab when they allied with al-Qaeda in 2012. Shebab still controls much of the country. Islamists militants have retaliated by killing over 400 Kenyan people. September 2013, Shabab slaughtered 67 people in a Nairobi shopping mall. June 1214, and they killed 60 people in Mpeketoni. In November and December Shabab killed 36 laborers in a quarry and 26 people they had held hostage on a bus. All these incidents happened near Mandera, in the far northeast and in each horrific act, the Muslims were left and the rest were killed.
On Twitter, with the hashtag notjustanumber, the Kenyan people, families and the students at the University have been using social media to share stories about the victims of the University massacre. They shared happy, fun pictures and parents are talking about how they were too overwhelmed to identify their children’s bodies.
There are still some students that are unaccounted for. Families are alternating their searches between morgues and hospitals. The names of the victims have not been released yet.
By Jeanette Smith