Somalia-based Islamists terror group al-Shabaab has found another lucrative means for funding its terror activities.
Research by the Institute for Security Studies shows the militant group is smuggling gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The findings suggest the gold is channelled from eastern DR Congo and is then smuggled through cities including Kampala, Bujumbura, Dar es Salaam and Nairobi.
The gold is then thought to be exported to Dubai and the Far East.
With Al-Shabaab’s linked to larger terror organizations like Al-Qaeda, the group’s expansion into the DRC poses a significant threat. It’s also thought Al-Shabaab and the Ugandan Islamist group, Allied Democratic Forces, could have joined gold smuggling networks.
The finance from this will help ensure Al-Shabaab remains resourced despite efforts by the African Union Mission in Somalia and the United Nations to cut off its funding.
The group is known to make its money from taxes on businesses and NGOs as well as contributions from the Somali diaspora and extortion.
It’s also been linked to Somali pirate groups operating in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
Militants once had control of the vital port city of Kismayo, where they profited from millions of dollars worth of charcoal and khat exports to the Gulf States. In 2012 however, Kenyan forces flushed them out, dealing a major blow to their finances.