Abductions of foreigners — with ransoms paid by Western countries — are AQIM's most lucrative source of funding, the center noted, with illegal drug trade becoming increasingly important. By 2012, AQIM vaulted to the top of al-Qaeda's table of richest branches solely by "vast sums it obtained through ransoms," Fanusie and Entz noted. From 2008-2013, AQIM netted $91.5 million from just seven abduction payments from governments — including those of Austria, Spain and Switzerland — and a state-run French company, FDD noted. "The U.S., in collaboration with European partners, should support better governance by Sahelian countries and encourage wealthy nations to stop paying ransoms. Degrading AQIM's financing starts with a strict enforcement of a ransoms ban," Fanusie and Entz wrote.
Source: The North Africa Journal December 06, 2017 23:17 UTC