Kenya’s government has ordered the closure of 13 money transfer firms
Kenya’s government has ordered the closure of 13 money transfer firms to prevent militant Islamists from using them to finance attacks, the interior minister has told the BBC.
The bank accounts of 86 individuals and “entities” had also been frozen, Joseph Nkaissery added.
Those targeted are believed to include a Somali-linked bus company and hotel.
An assault by the Somalia-headquartered al-Shabab group killed 148 people at Kenya’s Garissa University last week.
Kenyan officials have repeatedly accused Somalis in the country of colluding with the militants.
Nearly 500,000 refugees are in the country – many of whom fled decades of conflict and drought in Somalia.
BBC Africa’s Abdullahi Abdi in Nairobi says a leaked document shows that hotel and transport companies, as well as Muslim clerics and human rights organisations, risk having their bank accounts frozen.
Somalis around the world rely heavily on the informal money transfer firms, known as “hawalas”, to do business and to send cash to relatives because of the almost non-existent banking sector in Somalia.
There have been a similar crackdown on the companies in the UK and US.
A spokesman for the Somali money transfer agencies in Kenya, Abdi Ali, told the BBC they would oppose moves to shut them down.