As Somaliland remains unperturbed by allegations that its territory is being utilized as conduit by an Al-Shabab arms smuggling network
By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somaliland sun- The latest report by UN Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group –SEMG alleges that Kenyan troops in Somalia receive $2 per bag of charcoal at Kismayu, citing charcoal industry and non-governmental organizations sources.
But according to the Kenyan government allegations by the SEMG report made public last Thursday, 3 November is baseless and only geared towards demoralizing Kenya Defense Force troops that are part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which is helping the Somali government battle terror group Al-Shabaab.
The Kenyan rebuttal to the report was made by State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu who condemned the allegation “in the strongest terms possible,” terming it “hogwash masquerading as research.”
The report estimated that up to 6 million bags of charcoal had been exported annually from Kismayu and Buur Gaabo, another port adjacent to a Kenyan army base in Somalia.
Charcoal exports are banned by the UN Security Council in 2012 in an effort to cut off funding for Al-Shabaab.
“We are focused on the job that took us to Somalia in the first place, and will not be distracted by the latest hogwash masquerading as research,” Esipisu told journalists in Nairobi.
According to Kenya the UN report termed as hogwash masquerading as research also
appeared as a regurgitation of reports NGOs have issued over time, with the sole agenda of “demoralizing” Kenyan troops.
While the government in Nairobi which is a loggerheads with the UN over dismissal of Kenyan Lt. General Johnson Kimani Ondieki as the commander of the UN peacekeeping force in South Sudan, was prompt in its response to SEMG allegations, authorities in Hargeisa are either unaware or unconcerned by damning claims in the report.
The mention that repudiates On arms smuggling “ The Monitoring Group notes that most illicit weapons continue to enter Somalia through Puntland, and, to a much lesser extent, Somaliland. In May and June 2016, the Group investigated three shipments of small arms into the Puntland coastal town of Qandala, a weapon smuggling hub with historical ties to the port of Mukalla in Yemen. It is highly likely that a portion of these went towards equipping the militia of Abdisamed Gallan, a former governor of the Bari region who launched an insurgency aimed at overthrowing the Puntland Administration in June 2016. In late October 2015, a shipment of an unknown quantity of small arms, believed to include propellants for RPG-7 launchers,94 arrived approximately 5 km west of the port of Maydh, Somaliland.
Queried by www.somalilandsun.com on the Somaliland connection to shipments of smuggled ordinance discussed in the reports annexes 8.5 and 8.10, respectively, a UN staffer in Nairobi who sought anonymity wrote back
Related. Somaliland: Elders Deny Sanaag Weapons Cache
“The Somaliland arms smuggling link refers only to Ahmed Adib, the former police commander in Erigavo. However, we don’t suggest in the report that he is connected to the Somaliland administration in any way — in fact, we have evidence that he’s ideologically and operationally affiliated with Al-Shabaab”
Though this statement exonerates the government of Somaliland from links to the Al-Shabaab arms smuggling network , officials in Hargeisa remain either unaware or unperturbed due to failure of even making efforts to reveal the outcome of its investigations relating to the said shipment of weapons by a then senior police officer based in the Sanaag regional capital, Erigavo.
The government of somaliland was very much involved in the saga of November 2015 revolving around the suspected cache of weapons said to have been unloaded at the port of Maydh that ensued in violent protests in Erigavo following an attempt by police to apprehend then officer Ahmed.
The arrest operation which failed after residents violently confronting police and resulting in a standoff only came to close following intervention by local Sanaag elders and state officials, thence our assertion that both the regional and central authorities in Sanaag and Hargeisa respectively have sufficient details worthy of public consumption.
Related, Somaliland: Security in Erigavo Normalized after Police Clash with Residents
On the silence by Somaliland authorities and whether they were appraised as pertains the UN report, presidential spokesperson Eng Hussein Adan Egge ‘Hussein Deyr’ told Somalilandsun that there was nothing to respond to, thence restrain on shouting for the sake of a shout.
“Yes we are appraised of latest UN Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group report, more so that on Somalia made public on the 3rd November” said Eng Hussein Deyr adding that the government found nothing worthy of response.
Revealing that related agencies have carefully perused the entire SEMG report in which nothing of substance linking the republic of Somaliland with supply of weapons to Al-Shabaab in Somalia or connection to the alleged network of arms smugglers thence non released of a rebuttal the presidential spokesperson, upon prodding, promised an expedited and detailed statement on the Erigavo weapons saga.
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