Kenyan soldiers fail­ing to en­force ban on Shabaab char­coal ex­ports, says UN

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - NATIONAL NEWS - BY KEVIN J. KEL­LEY in NEW YORK

Kenyan soldiers as­signed to the African Union Mis­sion in So­ma­lia are fail­ing to en­force a ban on char­coal ex­ports by Al-shabaab, a team of United Na­tions mon­i­tors has said.

The ter­ror­ist group earns at least $10 mil­lion (Sh1 bil­lion) a year by ship­ping char­coal through ports in south­ern So­ma­lia, where Kenya De­fence Forces units are sta­tioned, ac­cord­ing to the mon­i­tors.

“Ami­som, whose Kenya De­fence Forces (KDF) con­tin­gents re­main at the ports of Kismayo and Buur Gaabo, has nei­ther as­sisted the So­mali au­thor­i­ties in im­ple­ment­ing the char­coal ban nor fa­cil­i­tated the Mon­i­tor­ing Group ac­cess to char­coal ex­port­ing ports,” the of­fi­cials say in a new re­port.

The doc­u­ment fur­ther says poor im­ple­men­ta­tion of the five-year-old UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil ban “en­ables Al-shabaab fi­nanc­ing and un­der­mines counter-ter­ror­ism and counter-in­sur­gency ef­forts in So­ma­lia”.

To show Al-shabaab’s con­tin­u­ing abil­ity to thwart counter-in­sur­gency ef­forts, the UN team cited an at­tack on a KDF base at Kul­biyow on the Kenya-so­ma­lia bor­der that re­sulted in the death of at least 67 Kenyan soldiers.

Al-shabaab at­tacks have also claimed the lives of many civil­ians and po­lice of­fi­cers within Kenya in the past two years.

This is not the first time UN ex­perts have claimed KDF’S non-com­pli­ance with the char­coal ex­port ban.

The UN’S So­ma­lia and Eritrea Mon­i­tor­ing Group last year said Kenyan troops as­signed to Ami­som were re­ceiv­ing $2 (Sh206) per bag of char­coal il­le­gally shipped from the port of Kismayo. Ac­cord­ing to the 2016 doc­u­ment, Kenyan forces’ col­lu­sion in the il­licit trade may have brought them $12 mil­lion (Sh1.2 bil­lion) in pro­ceeds.

The Jan­uary at­tack on KDF’S Kul­biyow base also re­sulted in al­shabaab’s cap­ture of weaponry that in­cluded a 105mm how­itzer, an ar­moured per­son­nel car­rier, an 81mm mor­tar launcher and a heavy ma­chine­gun, ac­cord­ing to the new re­port.

Al-shabaab is fur­ther said to have used more pow­er­ful 120mm mor­tars, likely to have been seized from an Ami­som Bu­run­dian base in 2015, in an April at­tack on a joint Ugan­da­so­mali Na­tional Army base at Bale­dogle. Weapons of that cal­i­bre rep­re­sent “a new and sig­nif­i­cant threat to peace and se­cu­rity in So­ma­lia”, the re­port warns.

Sh1bn Amount Al-shabaab ter­ror­ists rake in a year from char­coal ex­ports, ac­cord­ing to UN mon­i­tors

The UN team said FBI lab­o­ra­tory analy­ses had shown that the in­sur­gents are now us­ing an in­gre­di­ent in fer­tiliser to make ve­hi­cle-borne bombs.

“The po­ten­tial use of home­made ex­plo­sives by al-shabaab would al­low the group to rely less on har­vest­ing ex­plo­sives from mu­ni­tions, which is slow and la­bo­ri­ous,” said the mon­i­tor­ing team.

Ad­di­tional weapons are be­ing il­le­gally im­ported into So­ma­lia through the coun­try’s Punt­land re­gion aboard dhows sail­ing from Ye­men and the Makran coast of Iran.


Kenyan soldiers un­der the Africa Union Mis­sion in So­ma­lia (Ami­som) pa­trol Af­madow town in 2015. The UN wants Kenyan soldiers to en­force a ban on char­coal ex­ports by Al-shabaab.

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