In a letter sent to the Kenyan government, the government of Somalia has issued a miraa imports ban from Kenya.
Earlier in June, Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced his plans to stop the trade of miraa after having ”series of discussions and consultations”. He described the stimulant’s impact on Somalians as devastating.
President Mohamud said he will start by reducing the leaf’s trade before finally putting a stop to the product.
On Tuesday, Somali Minister of Civil Aviation – Ali Ahmed Jangali – made the announcement on Somalia’s decision on the ban.
The letter, which was addressed to Miraa Cargo Operators, in part read:
”While considering special circumstances, Somali Civil Aviation and Meteorology Authority on behalf of the Federal Republic of Somalia is hereby informing all miraa cargo operators and anyone it may concern that miraa cargo flights and its operation into Somalia have been cancelled until further notice.”
He further added that disregard of this notice and violation of Somali airspace would have consequences.
This is seen as a big blow to miraa traders in Kenya, mainly the communities living in Meru county, who rely heavily on the product to make a living.
The Nyambene Miraa Traders Association have expressed their shock at the ban. The groups spokesman Kimathi Munjuri commented on the ban, saying it would cripple the miraa industry. He acknowledged the need to keep the Somalia market, citing that about 12 cargo planes carry the narcotic leaf to Somalia every day.
Meru Governor Peter Munya also expressed concern about the ban calling it terrible for his county.
He acknowledged that the Somali market was bigger than the Kenyan one and that the move would impoverish the Meru area.
Somalia joins the Netherlands (2012) and Britain (2014) to place bans on the importation of the plant.