16 November 2017

Somalia: UN Urges KDF to Stop Somalia Charcoal Export

The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday urged the Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) to implement a ban on charcoal exports which earns Al-Shabaab at least Sh1 billion ($10 million) a year.

In adopting a resolution renewing the ban, the council acted on the basis of a UN monitoring group finding that Al-Shabaab earns at least $10 million a year by shipping charcoal primarily to Dubai.

KDF contingents assigned to Amisom are specifically cited in the UN monitors' report as having failed to assist Somali authorities in blocking charcoal exports.

The report notes that Kenyan troops are deployed at the two ports in Somalia from which Shabaab sends charcoal to Dubai.

KDF commanders have denied the monitors access to those ports in Kismayo and Buur Gaabo, the report states.

The council resolution adopted by a vote of 11 in favour and four abstentions urges Amisom to assist Somali authorities in "implementing the total ban on the export of charcoal from Somalia."

In a clear reference to the KDF units accused of preventing UN monitors from investigating the charcoal trade, the resolution "calls upon Amisom to facilitate regular access for the (monitors) to charcoal exporting ports."

The resolution also threatens unspecified "measures" for failure to comply with the charcoal ban. UN monitors are urged in the resolution to continue focusing on efforts to enforce the ban adopted in 2012.

Efforts by a 32-nation coalition of maritime forces to "disrupt" the export of charcoal from Somalia are likewise endorsed in the council's resolution.

Addressing the 15-member body on Monday, Somalia UN Ambassador Abukar Dahir Osman said he particularly welcomes steps to fully implement the charcoal ban.

The resolution also renews for one year the partial lifting of an embargo aimed at preventing arms trafficking to Somalia.

The country's government is permitted to make limited imports of weapons under the revised terms of the embargo.

The four countries abstaining in Monday's vote were Bolivia, China, Egypt and Russia.

Their decision to withhold affirmative votes was reportedly motivated in large part by disagreement with the resolution's renewal of sanctions against Eritrea.

UN monitors say they have no evidence of Eritrean support for Shabaab.

Such alleged assistance was the basis for the punitive measures taken by the council against Eritrea in 2009.

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