Hundreds of angry residents in Abudwak town have looted hawala shops and stores in the Galgadud region in central Somalia forcing business activities in the town closed down.
The angry residents turned violent as they were protesting against the business owners’ move to ban the 1000 Somali banknotes following rumours of fake banknotes in circulation.
The menace started in Hiiraan last week where the Al-Shabab group issued restrictions on trading with the only 1000 banknote remaining from the Somali shilling and soon spread to other regions including Galgadud.
“Residents started to protest the against the foreign exchange and business owners who rejected to trade with the Shilling. The protest turned violent. Several shops of hawalas and food stores were looted.” Said Abdi Yonis, a resident in Abudwak.
The protesters mostly low income families in the town later marched in the centre of the town as they called the Federal Government and local authorities to intervene the menace that led to the people’s lives to face standstill.
They warned the local traders against the use of EVC Plus, a local mobile money transfer service.
On Sunday residents in Beledweyn took to the streets to protest against the ban on the Somali shilling and alleged the business owners and foreign exchange operators to have sided with Al-Shabab.
A directive from the Ministry of Finance of the Hirshabelle state in Somalia on Tuesday barred all services of the local mobile money transfer by the Hormuud Telecom following standstill in the central Somalia region of Hiiraan.
The directive came following the closure of businesses in Beledweyn for the third day.
“After witnessing the challenges faced by he community in Beledweyn which led to business closure, we have ordered all EVC Plus (Electronic Voucher Cards) stopped. Said the directive from the Jowhar-based Ministry of Finance of the Hirshabelle state.
EVC Plus is operated by the Hormuud Telecom.
Local traders rejected to trade with the Somali 1000 banknote, the only banknote currently in circulation in the country. The move came after Al-Shabab issued ban against the banknote as they alleged that fake new denomination of 1000 banknotes were coming from Puntland.