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Somali Attorney General warns Public against Illegal trade in charcoal

Storyline:National News

Ahmed Ali Dahir, Somalia’s Attorney General has warned the public against Illegal trade in charcoal.

Since 1990 when the country’s strong central government was toppled, Somalia has been well known for its trade in charcoal.

Most of the charcoal is shipped to the Gulf countries — despite a United Nations ban on exports in 2012.

Dahir who spoke to the media on Saturday in Mogadishu said the decades-old charcoal trade left a destructive effect on the environment.

“The environmental destruction brought on by the charcoal trade contributes to drought, flooding, the loss of livelihoods and increase in food insecurity,” he said.

He has called for ban the illegal export of charcoal from the country.

“The office of the Attorney General warns Somali business community in and outside the country against trade in charcoal and tell them to stop the illicit trade,” he warned.

The AG stated that his office probes cases of unspecified businessmen who involve in trade in charcoal.

“Exportation of charcoal is a crime with possible punishment. The office of the Attorney General with the support of member states of the federal government is carrying out a thorough investigation into (the cases of) the business people involving trade in charcoal,” said Dahir.

Mr. Dahir’s sentiment comes less than a month after the country hosted a two-day UN-supported conference on charcoal in Mogadishu.

The agenda was how to stop the illegal trade, curb the unsustainable production and use of charcoal and develop alternative sources of energy

Speaking at the conference Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia, Mahdi Mohamed Guled, reaffirmed the Somali government’s commitment to halting illegal trade of charcoal and providing alternative livelihood and energy options.

He also called for urgent action and support from the international community and countries that are importing charcoal.

“We need a holistic response to address the issues of charcoal in Somalia. Both the demand and supply side have to be tackled – to do this we need cooperation to implement the UN Security Council Resolution and ensure the environmental, economic and human losses that happen because of illegal charcoal trade are curbed,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that the total production for export is about four times that for domestic use.

Somalia exports around 1.65 million tonnes of charcoal to the Gulf countries and The majority of Somalis also use it as the fuel of choice in their homes.

A 2012 United Nations Security Council resolution banned the export of charcoal from Somalia due to its destructive effect on the environment, and that it was intensifying conflict and humanitarian crises.

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