Terrorists and terrorist groups uses methods of terrorist financing to exploit legitimate trade transactions in their bid to collect and transfer funds to support their activities and to support the larger terrorist organization. They are involved in the complex and transnational nature of terrorist financing through trade, as terrorists and their financiers conduct various trade transactions in different countries to disguise the identity and origin of the funds they receive.
Importantly, it brings the need to strengthen international cooperation and collaboration against terrorist financing and the monitoring of international trade transactions. Cases highlight the reliance of terrorist groups on not only criminal proceeds but also on proceeds from legal sources in funding their operations. It also explains the constant changing of communication channels, such as mobile cards and mobile phones, by the sect members to evade detection and arrest by security operatives. Furthermore, the TF cases highlight the ease with which legitimate businesses can be established in countries to finance terrorism.
TF cases may indicate the operational vulnerabilities associated with the weaknesses in company registration and highlight how terrorists can use fictitious companies to raise and move funds to terrorists and terrorist organizations across national borders.
Exemplary Methods of Terrorist Financing
Two cases reported as terrorist financing in the region of Africa:
- The first case is about Mr. T, a confirmed member of Boko Haram, who was apprehended by security operatives when conducting surveillance on possible targets of attack in Abuja. Upon interrogation, Mr. T revealed that one of the ways through which Boko Haram funds its activities is by purchasing and sending items to its members in other locations. These items are sold at inflated prices, and the proceeds are used to finance the activities of the terrorist organization, including renting apartments and procuring Improvised Explosive Devices or IED materials for their operations.
- The next case was in 2011 when security operatives apprehended Mr. H, a member of Boko Haram and owner of a Nigerian telecommunications company, in northern Nigeria. Upon interrogation, he confessed to using part of the profit from his business to support the activities of Boko Haram. He also confessed to supplying the group with pre-registered Subscriber Identity Modules or SIM cards and mobile phones.
It is essential to note that there are many other methods that terrorist groups may use to finance their activities. However, law enforcement agencies and governments worldwide are continually working to combat terrorism and its funding.