Porters gather around a truck carrying miraa in Mogadishu on August 6, 2014 / COURTESY
The government yesterday was urged to withdraw the KDF from Somalia and strengthen border security to retaliate Somalia’s suspension of miraa imports.
Miraa Green Gold ambassador Rajesh Hirani said Somalia’s temporary suspension of miraa imports is in retaliation for Kenya’s closure of the Daadab refugee camp. It houses mostly Somalia refugees.
A statement sent to the Miraa Cargo Operators, the Interior ministry, Ministers of Transport and Finance in Mogadishu and Airport managers by the Somali Civil Aviation Authority said they have suspended all flights transporting khat from Kenya to Mogadishu.
“Considering special circumstances, the Somali Civil Aviation and Meteorology Authority… is hereby informing cargo operations and anyone it may concern that miraa cargo flights to Somalia have been cancelled effective from September 6 until further notice,” read the statement. It was signed by Capt Abdiwahid Ahmed, the general manager.
The statement says there will be serious consequences for violators.
Rajesh has been campaigning to lift the miraa ban in the UK and much of Europe. Governments call it a harmful drug. Rajash called for Kenya to find alternatives ways to sustain the market.
However, Thuranira Karicha a member of the government’s Miraa Task Force said the Somali market has only been closed temporarily.
“The authorities have told us the market will only be closed for three days to enhance security ahead of forthcoming Igad meeting,” Karicha said.We don’t want to speculate there could be other reasons which might have led to the suspension,” Karicha said.
He however said the taskforce is yet to start working because it has not received any money from the government. It had also pledged Sh1 million to cushion farmers of market closures