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US Government Shuts Down Somali Telecom Firms

The BBC is reporting that the two telecommunication firms in Somalia have had their international access severed because the U.S. Government believes that the companies have extensive ties to al Qaeda. The companies, The Somalia Internet Company and al Barakaat are the leading international communications companies, and Somalia Internet Company is the country's only Internet Service Provider.

As we said in an article on October 10, Somalia appears to be the African country most like Afghanistan in that political turmoil has been exploited by a number of terrorist groups. This has made Somalia the host country for many terrorist training camps.

The al Barakaat company is of particular interest because it also had a money transfer network that is thought to have been used by al Qaeda in the past. In fact, the BBC article says that "Al-Barakaat, Somalia's largest company with interests in telecommunications, banking and postal services, closed its financial businesses after its assets were frozen." We found more information about this in a U.S. State Department Fact Sheet dated November 7.

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