BY ADOW MOHAMED |
Muqdisho, 27 October 2015: The United Nations has once again accused Kenya of aiding a flourishing illicit sugar trade at the port of Kismayu in Somalia.
UN Monitoring Group for Somalia and Eritrea, in its report released last Friday, said the trade is worth more than $800,000 (Sh81.8 million) annually.
The report says this provides a financial lifeline and source of revenue for al Shabaab terror group and Somalia-based warlords.
The port is controlled by the Kenya Defence Forces since 2012 after it captured it from the militant group.
KDF, which is now under the African Union Mission to Somalia, controls Sector Two, including the port of Kismayu, Gedo, Middle Juba and Lower Juba regions.
They are supported by the semi-autonomous Jubaland administration forces formerly known as Ras Kamboni Brigade.
According to the report, sugar is transported from the port into Kenya, through multiple border points, including the Dhobley-Liboi crossing near Garissa.
The contraband sugar is imported from Brazil, it says.
“From the Dhobley-Liboi border crossing, much of the sugar passes through the Dadaab refugee camp before making its way to the regional hub of Garissa, then onward to wholesale markets in Nairobi,” the report reads.
It says once it enters Kenya, much of the sugar is bought by local businesses and repackaged in their own brands.
The authors of the 322-page report say al Shabaab mans checkpoints “on all roads out of Kismayu”, with passing trucks charged a toll of $1,000 (Sh100,000) each.
Yesterday, Kenya Army spokesman David Obonyo said he had not seen the report and could comment on it.
Earnings from the trade are sustaining the terrorists’ capacity to carry out attacks in Kenya and Somalia, the report says.
It says Kenya’s “strict tariff regime” also encourages the illegal sugar and other foodstuff to be imported duty-free through the port of Kismayu.