Rep. Ilhan Omar has publicly declared her support for a notorious organization known for its terrorist leadership and financing of terrorism. But it almost went unnoticed, until the tweet was brought to my attention.
On the 26th of August, Rep. Ilhan Omar made the following tweet:
Somali government and peacekeeping forces, need to protect @Hormuud and the Somali telecom industry as they make enormous contribution to the economy and provide vital services.
During my visit to Somalia in 2011, I was surprised by the quick evolution of technology in Somalia. https://t.co/u1vAht8sUo
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) August 25, 2019
Mrs. Omar has publicly called for the protection of Hormuud. Yet Hormuud Telecom has been mentioned as a sponsor of terrorism, not once, not twice, but many, many times.
What is Hormuud?
Hormuud Telecom Somalia Inc. is a private Somalian telecommunications company founded by Ahmed Nur Ali Jimale in April of 2002.
The United Nations Security Council’s Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Somalia, dated 20 July 2009, contained the following paragraphs involving the activities of Ahmed Nur Ali Jimale, his company Hormuud and his direct support for al-Shabaab, a jihadist militant Islamic terrorist group in Somalia (pages 10-11):
“Ali Ahmed Nur Jim’ale (Jim’ale) has served in leadership roles with the former Somali Council of Islamic Courts, also known as the Somali Islamic Courts Union, which was a radical-Islamist element. The most radical elements of the Somali Islamic Courts Union eventually formed the group known as al-Shabaab.
Al-Shabaab was listed for targeted sanctions in April 2010 by the United Nations Security Council committee established pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 concerning Somalia and Eritrea (the “Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee”).
“According to the July 18, 2011 report of the Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee’s Monitoring Group (S/2011/433), Jim’ale is identified as a prominent businessman and figure in the al-Shabaab charcoal-sugar trading cycle and benefitting from privileged relationships with al-Shabaab.”
“Jim’ale is identified as one of al-Shabaab’s chief financiers and is ideologically aligned with al-Shabaab.”
As of fall 2007, Jim’ale established a front company in Djibouti for extremist activities called the Investors Group. The short term goal of the group was, through the funding of extremist activities and weapons purchases, to destabilize Somaliland. The group assisted in smuggling small arms from Eritrea through Djibouti into the 5th region of Ethiopia where extremists received the shipment. As of mid-2008, Jim’ale continued to operate the Investors Group.
As of late September 2010, Jim’ale established ZAAD, a mobile-to-mobile money transfer business and struck a deal with al-Shabaab to make money transfers more anonymous by eliminating the need to show identification. As of late 2009, Jim’ale had a known hawala fund where he collected zakat, which was provided to al-Shabaab.
Jim’ale also controls Hormuud Telecommunications (“Hormuud”). Hormuud Telecommunications is a company identified as being one of the single largest financiers of al-Shabaab, which includes large lump sum payments to al-Shabaab in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and these payments to al-Shabaab were facilitated by Jim’ale.
Hormuud Telecommunications has provided key material and logistical support to al-Shabaab to include weapons, private fighters, and ammunition.”
Spokespersons for moderate Somali groups have warned the Somali people not to use Hormuud Telecommunications Company, because Hormuud personnel listen in on conversations for al-Shabaab.
Hormuud and Recent Bombings
A 2018 UN Security Council Report reveals that: On 14 October 2017 a large vehicle-borne improvised explosive device exploded killing as many as 582 people. It was the deadliest terror attack in the country’s history.
“Two employees of the principal Somali telecommunications provider, Hormuud Telecom Somalia Inc., were also prosecuted in connection with the attack, for facilitating the entry of the large vehicle-borne improvised explosive device through the Sinka Dheere checkpoint on the outskirts of Mogadishu.” says the report.
Below are snapshots of the second report, which can be read here.
In brief: Al-Shabab is a US Listed Terrorist Organization, and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is calling for the protection of their financier and main backer, Hormuud Telecom.
Furthermore, David Goldman, the Director of Counter Terrorism, National Security, and Intelligence Analysis at Strategic Intelligence has recently written about Hormuud in a report which can be read here.
This is not the first time Rep. Ilhan Omar has tried to protect terrorist groups or their recruits. Previously, she had also asked a US judge for compassion and leniency when sentencing nine Minnesota men charged with planning to join ISIS.