Kenya Defence Forces units assigned to the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) are failing to enforce a ban on charcoal exports by al-Shabaab, a team of United Nations monitors charges in a new report.
Shabaab earns at least $10 million (Sh1.03 billion) a year by shipping charcoal from ports in southern Somalia where KDF units are stationed, the UN panel says.
“Amisom, whose Kenyan Defence Forces contingents remain deployed at the ports of Kismayo and Buur Gaabo, has neither assisted the Somali authorities in implementing the charcoal ban nor facilitated Monitoring Group access to charcoal exporting ports,” the report states.
Poor implementation of the five-year-old UN Security Council ban “enables Al-Shabaab financing and undermines counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency efforts in Somalia,” the report observes.
As an example of Shabaab’s continuing ability to thwart counter-insurgency efforts, the UN team cites an attack on a KDF base at Kulbiyow on the Kenya-Somalia border that killed at least 67 Kenyan soldiers.
Shabaab militants have also taken the lives of scores of civilians and police officers inside Kenya in the past two years.
The UN’s Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group said last year that Kenyan troops assigned to Amisom were receiving $2 (Sh206) per bag of charcoal illegally shipped from the port of Kismayo.
Kenyan forces’ collusion in the illicit trade may have brought them $12 million (Sh1.3 billion) in proceeds, the 2016 report suggested.