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Update: Nationlink Telecom has agreed to pay around $30,000 and restarted operations today in insurgent-controlled areas, while money transfer company Dahabshill has also reopened its agencies, although there have been no details on how much, or if, they paid.
"Now we are working as usual after our manager informed us to come to the offices in morning; the company paid al-Shabaab $30,000," a Nationlink officer said.
The militant group al-Shabaab ordered several telecommunications companies to cease operations in Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle regions, officials said on Sunday.
According to the local operators, the Islamist fighters switched off transmitters belonging to Nationlink Telecom and Telecom Somalia.
Operations at a local money transfer services provider had also been halted following the order from the militant group.
Locals said outlets of the Dahabshiil money transfer service operations in Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle regions had been closed.
“No one knows the reason behind the order (by al-Shabaab) targeting our operations in those two regions," said an official from Nationlink Telecom.
But telecoms officials told Somalia Report that the decision by al-Shabaab came as the operators opposed a move by the Islamist fighters demanding contributions to fund the insurgents.
According to local residents, only one company has been allowed to operate in the area.
"These companies will remain closed until their managers agree to pay taxation for the war against the infidels as well as the crusaders,” a junior al-Shabaab member who identified himself as Abu-Yusuf told Somalia Report.
Residents in Jowhar, the capital of Middle Shabelle region, said it would be difficult for the banned companies to operate in the region.
“People are not willing to support al-Shabaab any more, so this is why they ordered the companies closed,” a Mogadishu-based business expert, Gelle Mohamed Dahir, told Somalia Report.
Beating women for not wearing veils
In the meantime, residents in the northern parts of Mogadishu told Somalia Report that 40 women, including a 14 year-old girl, were lashed for not wearing veils on Saturday.
“I was beaten badly.. I received 30 lashes of the cane from fighters who told us that they were working for the al-Shabaab. I live near Karan Market," one of the victims named Muno told Somalia Report.
“They were masked men armed with pistols and sticks,” she said.