13 July 2011, Wednesday
The CIA is conducting extra-judicial interrogations at secret prisons in Somalia, an investigation by The Nation magazine reports. The report said the CIA also uses a secret prison buried in the basement of Somalia’s National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters, where prisoners suspected of being Al-Shabab members or of having links to the group are held.
The report said the CIA has “a sprawling walled compound” on the coast of the Indian Ocean which looks like a small gated community, with more than a dozen buildings behind large protective walls.
The magazine also quoted, the site has its own airport and is guarded by Somali soldiers, but the Americans control access.
The Nation said the effort is part of a focus on the Al-Shabab, the Al Qaeda-linked group in the region blamed for a number of plots against the United States. It said the CIA seeks to build “an indigenous strike force capable of snatch operations and targeted ‘combat’ operations” against the Al-Shabab.
Some prisoners have been captured in Kenya or other locations, according to the magazine, which said the prison is officially run by the Somali NSA, but that US intelligence personnel pay the salaries and interrogate detainees.
A follow-up story by CNN featured an unnamed CIA official who said detainees were held by Somali forces and the CIA only supported interrogations in recent months.
“He described the number of times the CIA was present as ‘very small,’ adding that he would only say it was ‘one or two times’,” CNN reports.