The Somali authorities announced that they had got their hands on a huge quantity of sulphuric acid. In a short message on Wednesday, the intelligence services said they had seized 79 tons. A commodity that was, according to Mogadishu, destined for the Shebab terrorist group. The smugglers have been arrested and will be brought to justice, the NISA agency said. A seizure announced three years to the day after the bloody attack of October 2017, when the explosion of a truck bomb had caused more than 600 deaths in Mogadishu.
For years, shebabs have been smuggling explosives into Somalia. Sulfuric acid, for example, is a component of nitroglycerine, a powerful explosive repeatedly detected on Islamist bombs.
Thanks to their network, corruption, smuggling, the terrorists manage to recover the merchandise from neighboring countries. But since they have infiltrated the ports, the circuit also passes through the sea. In June 2019, for example, 700 bags of ammonium nitrate were found off the coast of Oman, on a boat heading for Somalia.
Terrorists also do not hesitate to divert products that have arrived legally. In March 2019, the MV Oriental Queen delivered 180 tons of explosives, 165 tons of ammonium nitrate and detonators. The cargo was sent to a road and port construction site. Experts are concerned about the risk of detour, even though, despite the arms embargo, there are no restrictions on the transport of commercial explosives. Kismayo port traders admit to selling fertilizer to farmers in Shebab-controlled areas…
Added to this is the increase in the needs of the armed group, which is no longer content, as in the past, to use equipment stolen from the army’s stocks. Islamists are increasingly using remotely operated explosive devices. It is known that since at least 2017 they have been making them themselves.