Somalia says Kenyan official to blame for Miraa ban

The Somali government has said it imposed a ban on miraa imports from Kenya because of the Kenyan official violations on its territorial integrity.

Somali Ambassador to Kenya Gamal Hassan said Meru governor Peter Munya’s visit to Hargeisa in July had caused political pressure back in Somalia to have the trade stopped.

“He linked the territorial integrity of the country to the Miraa trade and interfered in the internal affairs of the country,” he said.

“This has created a lot of unbearable pressure on the government. We have suspended the trade to have these matters addressed,” he added.

On Monday, Somalia announced it will no longer allow flights from Kenya carrying Miraa, most of which is grown in Meru County into its airspace.

In July, Mr Munya travelled to Hargeisa, the capital of Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland to lobby for easier trade rules for miraa exporters in Kenya in exchange for some form of recognition in Kenya.

He met with Deputy President of Somaliland Abdurrahman Ishmael, the foreign affairs minister and finance minister for discussion on possible recognition in Kenya.

Somalia is angered by the comments of Peter Munya.

Ambassador Jamal said his government is discussing the issue with the relevant Kenyan authorities to find an amicable solution.

Kenya sends about 540 planeloads of miraa to Somalia every month.

By Hassan Istiila