WASHINGTON — The US Central Intelligence Agency is using a secret facility in Somalia for counterterrorism purposes as well as a secret prison in the Somali capital, the magazine The Nation reported Tuesday.
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.
According to the magazine, 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 Shebab, 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 Shebab.
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 Shebab members or of having links to the group are held.
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.