“The group received small arms procured from Yemen. A boat carrying weapons arrived at Durdur beach near Lasqorey. Al-shabaab fighters unloaded the boat and deployed arms to Al Madow mountain range, a hideout for the proscribed group” a source in the neighboring Puntland government security forces has said.
The Puntland Government is investigating how Al-shabaab managed to conceal weapons in a fishing boat to evade naval patrols at the Gulf of Aden.
Al-shabaab reportedly maintains business links with arms smugglers in South Yemen governorates, where the illegal arms trade is rife due to the civil war in the country.
Puntland State controls the area that Al-shabaab uses to import illegal arms, but Puntland coastal guards seldom search fishing boats from Yemen.
“This will have to change to prevent Al-shabaab from buying arms from Yemeni markets” said a security analyst in Bosaso.
“Al-shabaab uses front businesses to make payments to arms sellers in Yemen. Businesses may be based outside Somalia due to current monitoring of money sent to Yemen from Somalia” added the security analyst.
Puntland State blocked inland routes that Al-shabaab once used to smuggle arms from other parts of the region.
Reliance on Yemeni arms sellers puts more pressure on Puntland to recalibrate its strategy to prevent illicit arms flows into coastal areas under its control.
This article first appeared in the © Puntland Post and is republished with permission.