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Kenya Minister Denies Funding Somali Terror Group

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Kenya's tourism minister has rejected a United Nations report that accuses him and other prominent Kenyans of unwittingly funding activities of Somali insurgent group al-Shabab.

Najib Balala told VOA Wednesday that he has not financed al-Shabab and denied having links to the al-Qaida-linked group.

Balala said Wednesday that he does not believe in the Islamist movement, which he described as “power hungry.”

Last week, Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper quoted from a U.N. Security Council report that says Balala supported the renovation of a Nairobi mosque the report describes as the nerve center of al-Shabab's activities in Kenya.

The report says Balala contributed $2,200 to a 2009 fundraiser for the Riyadha Mosque, which was then wired to an account operated by the group.

Balala says the money he gave was used “exclusively” to help with the mosque's reconstruction.

Kenyan lawmaker Amina Abdalla also denied knowingly funding al-Shabab after the same report accused her of donating $6,000 to the Riyadha project earlier this year.

The report states it has no evidence that either Balala or Abdalla were aware their donations would be used to finance the terrorist group's activities.

Abdalla said a number of Kenyans have contributed to the mosque and it is not clear why she and Balala were singled out. She told the Nation her family has strong ties to the mosque, one of Nairobi's oldest.

Article by VOA News