U.S. Suspends Food Rations to Elite Somali Forces (DANAB) Over Corruption Scandal

Published: April 26, 2024

In a stunning move, the United States has suspended food rations to Danab, Somalia’s elite special forces unit that it has long supported and trained, following revelations of a massive corruption scandal involving the misappropriation and resale of aid.

The decision to cut off Danab’s food supplies was conveyed directly to Somalia’s deputy minister of defense, Abdifatah Qasim, and the Chief of Defense Forces, Ibrahim Sheikh Muhudin, at the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. A source within the Somali National Army (SNA) indicated that the U.S. may also consider stopping fuel support to Danab pending further investigations into the extent of the corruption.

The suspension of American assistance deals a significant blow to Danab, which has relied heavily on U.S. support to carry out its operations against the Al-Shabab militant group.

In a statement released on April 25th, the Somali government acknowledged that rations intended for the U.S.-trained Danab forces had been diverted within a unit of its military. The statement revealed that an investigation has been conducted, resulting in the suspension and detention of unnamed officers.

“The Ministry of Defense of Somalia appreciates the support of the United States Government for its strategic partnership with the Somali people and Government in its fight against Al-Shabaab,” the statement read. It added that the Somali government will “assume” responsibility for providing rations to Danab from the U.S. as part of a “gradual transition” aimed at ensuring the long-term sustainability of its forces.

The corruption scandal has dealt a significant setback to the Somali military’s efforts to combat Al-Shabab, which has waged an insurgency against the government for over a decade. Danab, trained and equipped by the U.S., has been at the forefront of offensives against the militant group.