MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) has imported sophisticated cyber weapons and hired hackers to spy on opposition presidential candidates, cripple free trade and restrict internet access as presidential vote nears, Caasimada Online news website reported on Monday, citing a former spy official Abdullahi Ali Mo’ow.
“These tools will be used to target links between businesspeople and free trade, and the intelligence agency is going to use it to restrict internet access,” Abdullahi Ali Mo’ow said.
The official added that the government had hired the hacking tools and personnel to undermine presidential campaigns of candidates challenging the incumbent president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo in the upcoming elections.
“They want to use it when [presidential] election nears to monitor messages and campaigns of presidential candidates,” he added.
Days after the Somali capital has seen brief internet outages, Mo’ow says NISA has been testing the cyber weapons which it plans to employ in crackdown on the internet.
“They hired hackers, who will target communications, remittances and messages being sent. The tools are designed to spy on the people of Somalia and those in Mogadishu, and to monitor business,” the former intelligence official noted.
Somali spy agency has not immediately commented on the claim, which Somaliguardian has not been able to verify it independently.
But the comments of the former spy official come after temporary internet outages in Mogadishu over the past days and amid fears by the opposition that the federal government may target business owners who are expected to fund their presidential campaigns.
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