Wednesday, 7 November 2012

AMISOM voices concern over charcoal trade in Kismayo despite UN ban

 African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Tuesday expressed concern over charcoal being exported out of Somalia in violation of a UN Security Council ban.
In a statement released in Nairobi, AMISOM said that although it is not mandated to scrutinize commercial activities in the Horn of Africa nation, the UN-backed mission is cognizant of its responsibilities in contributing to restore peace, security and law and order in the country."AMISOM regrets reports that charcoal is being exported out of Somalia in violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution 2036 and Somalia' national law," the statement said.

The UN-backed peacekeeping mission, however, welcomed the Somali government's decision in forming a taskforce to deal with the issue. "The mission will fully cooperate with the taskforce and do all that it is necessary to facilitate its work," the statement said.AMISOM statement came amid reports that at least three freighters and 10 dhows departed from Kismayo on Monday, most carrying charcoal under the watch of AU soldiers who could not resist the move as the business is not part of their mandate.

Last month, residents in Somalia's port city of Kismayo appealed to the UN to lift the ban on charcoal business, a move that the UN Council is still considering. According to a UN report, Al-Shabaab used to pay for weapons and fighters with the monthly 1.25 million U.S. dollars it used to earn from taxing traders and from the export of charcoal, trade that was banned by the UN Security Council Resolution which was adopted in February.The charcoal business had become the insurgent's most lucrative source of income according to the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea.

Over the weekend, a delegation from the six-member Inter- Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) was in Mogadishu in an attempt to persuade President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud into not supporting the UN ban.The delegation is expected to use information gathered by a technical team that travelled to Kismayo on a fact-finding mission on Friday. However, the outcome of the IGAD delegation's meeting with President Mohamud is yet to be known.The Somali government last month disagreed with the AU on whether 4 million bags of charcoal stockpiled in Kismayo should be exported despite a UN Security Council export ban.  (Xinhua)

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