The African Mission for Somalia has issued a statement regretting the smuggling of charcoal after it emerged ports have allowed ships carrying charcoal to leave the coastal nation violating both a UN Security Council and Presidential ban.
“AMISOM regrets reports that charcoal is being exported of Somalia in violation of United Nations Security Council resolution 2036” the statement reads in part.
AMISOM also promised to work together with the Somalia government in dealing with the issue.
“In this regard, AMISOM reaffirms its commitment to support the Federal Government of Somalia in its efforts to stamp out this illegal trade in charcoal.” The AMISOM statement added.
In February this year, the Security Council banned the trade to stop both the flow of money to AL-Shabab and slow the environmental damage.
This breach is an embarrassment to the force charged with ensuring security in the nation and comes at a time when AMISOM has registered military successes against the Islamist.
The AL-qaeda linked militants were using the proceeds from the charcoal business to buy weapons and cause insecurity in the horn of Africa.
Local businessmen who smuggled charcoal out of Kismayo while it was under AL-Shabab control have continued to build the stockpile, now said to be at least four million bags worth an estimated $20m.
According to Hassan Mohamed Yusuf a local businessman, “Charcoal is being exported now from the port of Kismayo… but there are also other natural ports in the region where the business is going on”
The businessmen argue that since the militants were driven out, there’s no need to keep the ban in place.
Law makers have also called upon the government to lift the ban on the sale of charcoal.
However President Hassan Sheikh ordered the port to remain closed to all commercial shipping until the delicate question of who should control the port is resolved, and agreement is reached over what should happen to the charcoal.