Mogadishu, January 15, 2024 – In a recent turn of events, Hormuud Telecom, one of Somalia’s prominent telecommunications companies, has accused the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) of disrupting its business operations and engaging in unlawful arrests. The accusations come amidst a brewing controversy between the two entities.
According to a press release issued by Hormuud Telecom, NISA officers allegedly demanded access to the mobile money activity records of EVC, a service provided by the telecom company, at one of its centers in Hodan district. Hormuud claims to have refused this request, leading to the subsequent arrest of two of its employees. The disruption also reportedly extended to Salaam Bank’s Hamarweyne branch.
In response, Hormuud Telecom squarely placed the blame on NISA, stating that the intelligence agency’s actions were responsible for the disturbance in its business operations. The company argues that the NISA officers’ demands exceeded legal boundaries, leading to the unwarranted arrests of its employees.
NISA, however, defended its actions in a counter press release. The intelligence agency revealed that it had received a request for assistance from Hormuud Telecom on December 26, 2023, citing a terrorism-related issue. Following an investigation, NISA claims to have uncovered evidence suggesting collusion between some Hormuud employees and terrorist entities.
The press release from NISA stated, “The National Intelligence and Security Agency, based on a request from Hormuud Company, discovered that some of Hormuud’s employees are working together and have connections with terrorists.” The agency invoked Article 8 Paragraph 3 of the National Security and Intelligence Agency Law to request the suspension of Hormuud’s bank accounts and EVC Plus Service.
NISA further accused Hormuud Telecom of violating specific laws related to communication and counter-terrorism efforts. According to the NISA press release, the company breached Law No. 003 Article 48 of the National Intelligence and Security Agency Law and Law No. 007 Article 11 of the Anti-Terrorism Law.
The intelligence agency stated that the arrests were made in response to resistance encountered while carrying out its duties. Tensions between Hormuud Telecom and NISA are expected to intensify as both parties stand firm on their respective claims. The situation raises concerns about the balance between national security measures and the protection of businesses from potential overreach by intelligence agencies.