It's often said that desperate times call for desperate measures. As the al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab rebels in Somalia face heavy gunfire from the 9700-strong African Union forces led by Uganda and Burundi, thousands of Kenyan military and now Ethiopia forces, though they deny entry, the islamic fighters are said to be running low on cash. To solve the financial challenge the al-Shabaab in Afgoye area, 30km from Mogadishu, are reportedly levying fees of between $10 and $20 on the poor and hunger stricken Somalis. This monthly "tax" is being charged on residents of Somalia's Shabelle region.
|Al Shabaab fighters ready for action|
This move reminds me of the conversation I had with AMISOM's spokesman, Lt. Col Paddy Ankunda when the Shabaab were pushed out of Mogadishu. By then Col Ankunda had told me that one of the reasons why the al-Shabaab had left Mogadishu was cutting off their revenue sources from the Bakara market.
After reading this article I am left wondering if the al-Shabaab have any empathy. How on earth can they even ask 15 year-old children to pay $10 every month as contribution to rebels' cause. For heaven's sake these are children and people in need of food aid.