Miraa traders seek end to Somalia diplomatic tiff

Miraa (khat).

Miraa (khat), a mild narcotic drug exported to Somalia, is sorted at Wilson Airport in Kenya's capital Nairobi. PHOTO | AFP

Miraa traders want the government to restore diplomatic ties with Somalia and avoid actions that will further jeopardise the already strained relationship that has seen the country locked out of the Sh16 million a day market.

This is after the government escalated an existing standoff with Somalia last week when it suspended flights to or from Nairobi to Mogadishu.

Last Sunday, 12 tonnes of miraa worth Sh5 million went to waste after Somalia on May 9 issued a notice prohibiting export of the stimulant to the country, following news that there were consignment at the airport that was destined to Mogadishu.

Nyambene Miraa Traders Association chairman Kimathi Munjuri said the move to ban flight was ill advised and that Kenya should work towards restoring the trade between the two countries other than escalating the standoff.

“The ban is not necessary because it extends the standoff between the two countries and it is Kenya that is losing out,” said Mr Munjuri.

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority through a notice to airmen banned all flights to or from Mogadishu without giving any reason on May 11.