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Thursday, 8 November, 2001, 15:16 GMT
Somali company 'not terrorist'
Anti-US demonstration in Mogadishu
Many Somalis are opposed to the US air strikes
By Hassan Barise in Mogadishu

Senior officials of a Somali company labelled as a terrorist organisation by the United States on Wednesday have rejected the accusation.

The Bush administration listed 62 individuals and organizations, including al-Barakaat and Mr Kahiyeh, calling them "Specially Designated Global Terrorists".


We would be very satisfied with the outcome of any... open and transparent investigation

Abdullahi Hussein Kahiyeh, alleged terrorist
Al-Barakaat is the largest company in Somalia, with interests in telecommunications, banking, postal services and refreshment.

The Somali Government has announced that it will probe the company, along with others that transfer money internationally and could potentially be used to finance terrorism.

Largest employer

Abdullahi Hussein Kahiyeh, general manager of the al-Barakaat group of companies, denied having any links with Osama Bin Laden or any terrorist network.

The company which has 600 shareholders is the largest employer in Somalia as hundreds of thousands and probably millions of Somalis depend on it to transfer money throughout the world.

Somalia civil war
Somalia's lawlessness could be used by terror groups

Somalis living abroad use it to send money to their relatives back home as there are no other banking systems in Somalia since the downfall of the Siad Barre regime in 1991.

Mr Kahiyeh said his company welcomes any investigative body whether local or international to look deep into their activities worldwide.

"We would be very satisfied with the outcome of any such open and transparent investigation," said Mr Kahiyeh. "We have never done anything wrong against anyone, nor are we planning to do that."

Special committee

Mr Kahiyeh said he was shocked by the news released on Wednesday and was not initially sure whether to open on Thursday. Eventually, the doors were opened two hours later than normal.


We still need money from our relatives abroad. America wants us to die just the same as they are killing those poor people in Afghanistan

Old man

Somalia's prime minister has issued a decree appointing a special committee to investigate al-Barakaat, as well as all other remittance companies.

The government has already appointed a committee to combat international terrorism.

Abbas Abdi Ali, general manager of the Barakaat Bank in Mogadishu, another in the list said: "America is wrong on our company and on myself."

Raided

Mr Abbas also spoke about how their office in Dubai was raided by United Arab Emirates security officials.

"They closed our office, took out our documents and computers," he said. "Because of this our bank operations will remain closed until Monday."

Ordinary Somalis have likewise been shocked by the news.

An old man at the gate of al-Barakaat said the American decision was an attack against the poor people of Somalia.

"When America closes al-Barakaat, are they bringing us any other alternative?" he asked.

"We still need money from our relatives abroad. America wants us to die just the same as they are killing those poor people in Afghanistan," said the old man.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Bashir Kalif, al-Barakaat
"Somalis living in Europe and America send 30% of their income home."

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26 Sep 01 | Africa
24 Sep 01 | Africa
21 Sep 01 | Africa
17 Oct 01 | Africa
05 Sep 01 | Country profiles
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