The latest report from the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea contains some damning allegations backed with plenty of evidence.
The full report – all 417 pages of it – is available here as are all the previous reports which are packed with fascinating detail about the inner workings of Somali piracy, the origins of illegal arms flows and the structure of al-Shabaab, Somalia’s Islamist insurgency.
It is a lot to get through so here are some of the main talking points:
1. Al-Shabaab earns up to $100-million a year from taxation and extortion, and is becoming a fully-fledged business operation.
2. The UN-backed Transitional Federal Government is ineffective, divided, corrupt and its leadership lacks vision so is incapable of providing leadership or bringing stability.
3. Eritrea planned a series of bomb attacks targeting an African Union summit in January the capital of Ethiopia, its old enemy, that would “make Addis Ababa like Baghdad”.
4. Weapons and ammunition supplied to the African Union troops and government forces in Mogadishu are for sale in the al-Shabaab controlled Bakara Market, with perhaps as much of half the ammunition sold on by government-allied militias.
5. A private security company called Saracen International committed “egregious violations of the arms embargo” by setting up a military training camp and deploying foreign security personnel in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland. The company is said to have links to Xe Services, formerly known as Blackwater.