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Last Updated:  Thursday, 3 April, 2003, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
Somalia 'not terror haven'
Sign for al-Barakat bank
Somalia's biggest company was shut because of alleged terror links
A United Nations report has found no evidence that international terror groups are based in Somalia.

However, the 62-page report does say that those responsible for recent terror attacks in East Africa passed through Somalia.

Following the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States, Somalia was often seen as a possible "terrorist haven".

It has had no effective central government for 12 years, during which rival warlords have battled for control.

'Transit centre'

Neighbouring Ethiopia also accuses Somalia's transitional government of links with Islamic extremists - a charge denied in Mogadishu.

The panel found that these fears "at present... appear unfounded."

President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan
Somalia's leader denies links with Islamic extremists

But the three-man panel warned that the lack of central government could mean Somalia became "a significant transit centre for small groups of terrorists and terrorist materials."

Somali group al-Ittihad al-Islami was put on a United States list of groups linked to Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

"While the panel has found ample evidence that al-Ittihad al-Islami continues to operate in Somalia, it appears to have few formal links with al-Qaeda, and has a largely local agenda, which includes unification with other Somali-majority areas in neighbouring states," the report said.

FBI agents

Somalia's largest company, al-Barakat, was shut down after being named on the US terror list.

Two weeks ago, a Yemeni man was detained in Somalia in connection with last November's attack on the Paradise Hotel near the Kenyan resort of Mombasa.

He was transferred to Nairobi and then the United States, reportedly by FBI agents who picked him up in Mogadishu.

In 1998, more than 200 people were killed in simultaneous bomb attacks on US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

The three-man panel said those involved had apparently passed through Somalia, along with their weapons.

Somalia arrests terror suspect
19 Mar 03  |  Africa
Analysis: Somalia's powerbrokers
08 Jan 02  |  Africa
Country profile: Somalia
06 Mar 03  |  Country profiles

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