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KDF makes huge money on unlawful charcoal exports from Somalia-UN report says

By NJ Mogadishu Correspondent

Kismayu KDF Charcoal

Traders sell charcoal in Kismayu in May 2013. The Kenya Defence Forces has been accused of colluding with Al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia’s illegal multi-billion-shilling charcoal trade. FILE NATION MEDIA GROUP

United Nations monitoring group said in a report released on Friday that Kenyan forces battling Alshabaab in Somalia are making business on illegal exports of charcoal from ports under their control.

It was October 16, 2011, when Kenya Defense Forces moved into Southern Somalia to pursue insurgents group Al Shabaab after claims of series of kidnappings of foreign aid workers and tourists along the Kenyan-Somali border.

One month, later Kenyan government agreed to re-hat its forces under the African Union Mission in Somalia which puts now the fourth year since Kenyan troops invaded Somalia.

Kenyan troops which were assigned to the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) to trail insurgents group Al Shabaab faces a scandal of making huge money on illicit exports of charcoal.

This is not first time Kenyan Defense forces have been accused of colluding with Al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia’s illegal multi-billion-shilling charcoal trade. This seems a normal business for the troop thus going against the UN security ban.

The UN group report reveals that KDF receive $2 (Sh200) per bag of charcoal loaded at the port of Kismayu which is under their control.

The report further disclosed that estimates of more than six million bags of charcoal have been exported from three ports annually that include; Kismayu, Buur Gaabo and another port that is adjacent to a Kenyan base in Jubaland state of Somalia.

The report points out that Kenyan troop may have gained more than $12 million (1.2 billion) a year from the unlawful charcoal export that was banned by the UN Security Council in 2012 in an effort to censor Alshabaab sources of funding.

The UN monitoring groups said that Kenyan forces play substantial roles in the unlawful export of charcoal in the areas they manned.

“Alshabaab have increased its illicit export of sugar to Kenya to offset losses of revenue from charcoal that they become less reliant to it because of the improved enforcement of the ban on charcoal by the importing countries,” UN group says in its 247-page report

The report pointed out that Alshabaab increased tax charges from $1000 per truck to $1500 per truck in lower Juba; this estimates that the militants accumulate more than $18 million a year from sugar alone.

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