Al-Shabaab revenue requirements increase risks of extortion of, attacks on Somali telecoms employees and infrastructure sabotage

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Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (Al-Shabaab) militants reportedly sabotaged a telecoms base tower in Sacoow on 20 June, resulting in the termination of telecoms and mobile banking services in Jubadda Dhexe administrative region, southern Somalia.

Al-Shabaab has previously sought to disrupt telecoms services, ordering Somalia’s largest telecoms provider, Hormuud Telecom, in December 2014 to terminate its operations throughout several districts under its control in Bay region. Al-Shabaab issued a similar threat in January 2014, ordering the termination of internet services within 15 days or face attacks against employees and property.

Since 2011, Al-Shabaab has threatened telecoms workers and prevented them from attending work in regions neighbouring Mogadishu – including Bay, Hiraan, Shabelle Dhexe, and Jubadda Dhexe administrative regions – in an attempt to coerce them into paying extortion charges.

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