Somalia 'not terror haven'

A United Nations report has found no evidence that international terror groups are based in Somalia.

However, the 62-page report does say that those responsible for recent terror attacks in East Africa passed through Somalia. Following the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States, Somalia was often seen as a possible “terrorist haven”. It has had no effective central government for 12 years, during which rival warlords have battled for control. Neighbouring Ethiopia also accuses Somalia’s transitional government of links with Islamic extremists – a charge denied in Mogadishu. The panel found that these fears “at present… appear unfounded.” But the three-man panel warned that the lack of central government could mean Somalia became “a significant transit centre for small groups of terrorists and terrorist materials.” Somali group al-Ittihad al-Islami was put on a United States list of groups linked to Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network. “While the panel has found ample evidence that al-Ittihad al-Islami continues to operate in Somalia, it appears to have few formal links with al-Qaeda, and has a largely local agenda, which includes unification with other Somali-majority areas in neighbouring states,” the report said. Full Story

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