Kenya has suspended the licenses of 13 Somali remittance firms following the massacre at a Kenyan university last week, Somalia’s central bank governor said on Wednesday, and Kenyan media reported that dozens of bank accounts had been frozen.
The killing of 148 students by Somalia’s Al-Shabab at Garissa, some 120 miles from the border, has piled pressure on President Uhuru Kenyatta to deal with the fighters who have killed more than 400 people in Kenya in the last two years.
Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper said on Wednesday that the government has “frozen the accounts of 86 individuals and entities suspected to be financing terrorism in the country,” including Somali remittance firms.
Somalia’s central bank governor, Bashir Issa Ali, told Reuters that 13 Somali money transfer firms have been officially notified by Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) about the closure of accounts.
He said the move would have a devastating impact on Kenya’s Somali community, numbering just over one million people.
“It’s going to hurt Somalis in Kenya more than Somalis in Somalia. The amount of money sent from abroad to Kenya is huge,” Ali said, pointing out that many Somalis in Kenya rely on relatives abroad for basics including school fees.
The owner of one Somali money transfer firm told Reuters the Kenyan government has not suspended remittance firms’ bank accounts but that the CBK had instead revoked their licenses.