Feeds

Somali rebels threaten mobile banking group

Mobile money is, apparently, unIslamic

Security for virtualized datacentres

Network operators in Somalia have been given three months to pull the plug on money transfers by mobile phone, or face the consequences.

The threat was made in a statement by al-Shabaab, a group apparently inspired by al-Qaida, and gives the three network operators in the region three months to block transactions over the Zaad Service. This is according to African mobile website Mobile Money Africa.

Al-Shabaab runs a significant proportion of the parts of Somalia that aren't managed by the UN - which would be most of the country. The group reckons that the Zaad Service, which is owned and operated Telesom (one of the local operators), is part of a conspiracy by the west to seize control of the Somalian economy, and that as such it can't be allowed to continue.

Now... our economy might be in a bit of a mess, but compared to Somalia we're rolling in clover and gaining control of the Somali shilling surely isn't high on the western priority list. The GSMA reckons that al-Shabaab doesn't like mobile transactions as they take business away from the hawaladars: an informal, international, network of money transfer agents. Local hawaladars almost certainly come under the control of al-Shabaab, so by enabling person-to-person transactions, Zaad takes power from the group.

The Zaad service, and the hawaladars, are mostly concerned with transferring money into the country from expatriates working abroad who want to support their families at home - and with the country in such a mess that's a significant source of revenue. But the service also provides merchant accounts, allowing the user to pay for goods and and services as if with a debit card. According to al-Shabaab, that has reduced the use of cash and proves the conspiracy.

Amusing as the idea of an American conspiracy to control the local currency is, it doesn't really matter what excuse the group is using - the issue is about who controls of the flow of money, with technology enabling citizens to bypass local warlords. Al-Shabaab has threatened the network operators as it can't reach Zaad itself. The insurgent group only controls the south of the country, and the telecom which runs the mobile banking service is based in the UN-protected north, in Mogadishu. However, in areas where the rule of law has fallen down mobile network operators are awfully exposed. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.