A wanted al-Shabaab commander from Kenya, known as Ahmed Iman Ali, is suspected to be operating multimillion-shilling businesses in Nairobi from his bolt-hole in Somalia to ensure that the terrorist group does not lack fund at any point.
Ahmed Iman Ali, also known as Abu Zinira is allegedly operating several businesses in Gikomba and Majengo through proxies.
The famous al-shabaab fighter is said to have founded a group that oversees his boutiques and stalls, which deal in fairly used shoes and clothes in the busy markets.
Authorities found that a few members of a local group set up by Iman are tasked with collecting rent from the businesses, while others sell merchandise.
The alumnus of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology has also expanded his enterprise to a nearby road, on a stretch that connects Pumwani and Gikomba market.
The expansion features more 30 stalls which encroached on a lane of the road, effectively marring traffic around the area. It was also found that people have rented all 30 stalls. Some militants on the most-wanted list are also said to be funded by the proceeds from these operations.
Such fighters include Ramadhan Kioko aka Pinji, Eric Achayo Ogada, Mohamed Tajir Ali aka Wahome, Ramadhan Shuaib aka Giggs and Juma Ayub who is also known as Otit Were, and KB.
Authorities got knowledge of the dealings after Musa Mutevi (aka Bame), whose activities were being closely supervised on suspicion that he raises finance for al-Shabaab, was spotted coordinating collection of the money.
The fighters make huge cash from the lucrative businesses as Kenyan security established that only one of the shopping malls generates monthly proceeds of up to Sh350,000 which is paid in for the commander.
Iman stalls close to Pumwani also generates Sh150,000 every month, which he sends to the terror group through informal money transfer.
The security report, as quoted by the Nation, states:
“Iman owns and receives funds collected from at least 10 stalls. The proceeds from the stalls make his stay in Somalia comfortable and partly facilitate his propaganda video releases.”
This raises fresh concern that Pumwani Riyadha Mosque, which was linked to al-Shabaab operations some six years back, may have been working with Iman’s network.
Presently, Iman leads Kenyan militants in Somalia and oversees video production for Al-Shabaab.
Security agents say the fund raised from all the transactions are channeled towards training, recruiting and logistics on terror activities in Kenya and Somalia.