Kenya Denies Troops Involved In Sugar, Charcoal Trade In Somali

The UN Security Council has been cautioned against linking peacekeeping troops in Somalia to illegal charcoal and sugar trade without evidence. Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo yesterday told the teams monitoring the peace process against accusing African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) soldier. She said they should stop finger-pointing, sensational and unsubstantiated allegations.

Omamo spoke during the UN Security Council’s Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia 21st Plenary Session at the UN headquarters in Nairobi. The Contact Group is probing terrorism financing in Somalia. “I note that the group has taken the initiative to grapple with questions relating to the financing of terrorism and is examining the charcoal trade and sugar smuggling as a source,” she said.

More than 200 delegates from 68 states and international organisations attended the three-day meeting. Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma, her counterparts Ahmed Awad (Somalia) and Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo (Mauritius), the UN assistant secretary for political affairs Tayé-Brooke Zerihoun and secretary general of the Indian Ocean Commission Hamada Madi were present.
The Group’s Plenary Session theme was “Leaving a long-lasting legacy for the region.”

In November last year, the council’s Somalia and Ethiopia monitoring group report linked the Kenya Defence Forces, which is part of Amisom, to export and import of charcoal. However, the KDF spokesman Col David Obonyo dismissed the report as untrue. He said the soldiers were not in Somalia to trade, but to enforce Amisom’s mandate. Omamo warned that linking the troops to smuggling undermines the soldiers’ significant contribution in the fight against al Shabaab to restore stability in Somalia.

Source: The Star