Kenya Army Involved in Sugar Smuggling Racket in Somalia

kenya armyNairobi (AFP) – Kenya’s army is involved in a $400-million sugar smuggling racket in Somalia that also funds the Al-Qaeda militants it is supposed to be fighting, a report alleged Thursday. Far from fighting the Shebab, Al-Qaeda’s East Africa affiliate, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) are, “in garrison mode, sitting in bases while senior commanders are engaged in corrupt business practices,” said the investigation by Nairobi’s Journalists for Justice rights group.

The report is based on months of research conducted in Somalia and Kenya, including interviews with serving Kenyan officers, United Nations officials, Western intelligence sources, sugar traders, porters and drivers.

The report also accused Kenyan troops of “widespread” human rights abuses — including rape, torture and abduction — and conducting air strikes “targeting crowds of people and animals” rather than the militant training camps it claims to bomb. Kenyan army spokesman, Colonel David Obonyo, denied the allegations, insisting Kenyan soldiers were fighting hard as part of the 22,000-strong African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

“We are not involved in sugar or charcoal business,” said Obonyo. “How can you sit down with Shebab one minute, and the next you are killing each other?”
View gallery Kenya’s army has denied repeated allegations of war profiteering since invading Somalia in 2011 after a string of kidnappings of tourists and aid workers blamed on the Shebab.

In the years since, Shebab attacks in Kenya have grown in number and scale — including the killing of at least 67 people at Nairobi’s Westgate Mall in 2013 and the massacre of 148 people at a university in Garissa in April — with the militants saying the attacks are retaliation for the Kenyan military presence in Somalia and “war crimes” committed by Kenyan troops.

Persistent allegations of Kenyan military involvement in illegal business dealings in Somalia first emerged soon after the army occupied the southern port town of Kismayo in 2012, where it took control of a stockpile of millions of sacks of charcoal.

Successive reports by the UN Monitoring Group — which investigates terrorist financing and infringements of an arms embargo — have detailed the joint role of KDF, the Shebab and the local Jubaland administration in the illegal export of charcoal.

The most recent annual report, published last month, also referred to KDF involvement in the illegal sugar trade. Journalists for Justice estimates the total value of illegal sugar smuggling to Kenya at between $200 million and $400 million.

Its investigators found that KDF taxes every sack of charcoal that leaves and every sack of sugar that arrives at Kismayo, earning an estimated $50 million (46 million euros) a year. The Jubaland administration and the Shebab also tax charcoal and the sugar trucks driving from Kismayo to the Kenyan border at Dhobley-Liboi.

“The illicit conflict economy is benefitting both Al-Shebab and those ostensibly opposing them,” the report said. The group accuses an unnamed “high ranking military official” of running a sugar smuggling network that enjoys “the protection and tacit cooperation” or Kenya’s political leaders.

“The corruption and human rights abuses undermine Kenya’s goals in Somalia, provide funds to Al-Shebab, and ultimately result in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Kenyans,” the report said.

SOURCE

13 comments

  • Very scary news comming from KDF stationed in Kismayo about organ smuggling business from dead somali youth killed by kdf soldiers with markets in the middle eastern countries.

  • charcoal business

    The international trade in Somali charcoal continues although the political economy on land has changed. Since the recovery of the port city of Barawe in Lower Shabelle in October 2014, Al-Shabaab no longer controls any major export sites. Following the arrest of various officials exporting charcoal immediately following the capture of Barawe, the Monitoring Group believes that the trade in Barawe has ceased. Although the trade continues further south, Al-Shabaab’s overall share of income derived from it has been significantly reduced. Early in 2015, falling revenues from charcoal prompted attempts by Al-Shabaab to actively obstruct and deny profit from the trade to its opponents. Although support from Member States and multinational naval partnerships has increased the visibility of the trade, countermeasures employed by charcoal-exporting vessels to avoid identification and tracking, combined with the continuing use of false documentation, have added to the challenges of ensuring that Somali charcoal is not imported by Member States.
    http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_2015_801.pdf

  • KDF out of Somalia

    Somalia: MPs vote for Kenyan Forces to leave

    November 16, 2015

    (The Star, Mogadishu) The Somali Parliament on Saturday overwhelmingly voted for a motion that compels the Kenya government to withdraw its forces from Somalia.

    At least 160 MPs voted for the motion, in which they singled out the Kenya Defence Forces and demanded they leave the country forthwith.

    The MPs raised concerns concerning the latest report accusing Kenya’s military of illegal involvement in the sugar and charcoal trade and Kenya’s ongoing plans to build a 440-mile wall along its border with Somalia.

    Two reports have claimed KDF involvement in contraband trade in recent times – one from the UN in 2014 and last week’s “White and Black: Kenya’s Criminal Racket in Somalia”, published by rights group Journalists for Justice.

    In a heated debate only two MPs voted for KDF’s continued stay in southern Somalia, where they have been since they moved there in 2011. One MP abstained.

    Head of Parliamentary Commission on External Affairs Mohamed Omar Dalha said the Kenya Government continues to violate their country’s integrity by building an “illegal” wall and engaging in criminal activities.

    “We ask the international community to seek contributing troop countries elsewhere in order to replace the troops from Kenya,” he said.

    The wall, a series of concrete barriers, fences, ditches and observation posts overlooked by CCTV stations, is expected to stretch from the Indian Ocean to Mandera, where both countries converge with Ethiopia.

    The motion was moved by the Committee of the Federal Parliament of Foreign and Internal Affairs and tabled after a report emerged of KDF’s involvement in the illicit sugar and charcoal trade in Somalia.

    The UN report claimed Kenyan companies and KDF are the leading participants in the illegal charcoal export through the Kismayo port worth Sh22 billion annually.

    “Al Shabaab continues to benefit from the revenue generated, on a scale greater than when it controlled Kismayo,” says the report compiled for the UN Security Council in October 2014.

    Journalists for Justice claimed at least Sh40 billion worth of sugar and charcoal is traded in Kismayo with support from KDF and the Jubaland administration. This, the report said, gave al Shabaab an economic lifeline.

    The motion targeted the Kenyan troops, despite the fact that they are part of the multinational Amisom command.

    The motion made no mention of Uganda, Burundi and Sierra Leone forces that are part of Amisom and which have been in Somalia longer than KDF.

    The development came amid reports Mogadishu has recalled its envoy to Nairobi, Mohamed Gamal, for consultations on the border issue.
    http://horseedmedia.net/2015/11/16/somalia-mps-vote-for-kenyan-forces-to-leave/

  • Kenya’s Criminal Racket in Somalia

    White and Black: Kenya’s Criminal Racket in Somalia

    Kenya’s very survival is dependent on the capacity of the country to stem the wave of
    insecurity that terrorist attacks associated with the al-Shabaab group have wrought on the
    country. The human cost of these attacks is already very high, with more than 400 deaths
    since Kenya’s incursion into Somalia in 2012. The insecurity has also caused massive
    economic disruption in the country, with businesses in the coastal region having to close
    down because of travel warnings. Beyond the loss of investments, which these closures
    usually signify, is the loss of livelihoods often by the poorest and most vulnerable people
    whose lives depended on such economic activities.

    In the northeastern part of the country, insecurity has also caused massive disruptions
    in the education system, with teachers who do not come from these areas fearing to
    report to work since the government cannot guarantee their safety. The reversals in
    the education system threaten further marginalisation to a part of the country that was
    already heavily marginalised, and will feed into the grievances that drive insecurity in the
    first place.

    There has been no shortage of evidence that the responses to Kenya’s terrorism-induced
    insecurity have suffered significant slippages — with the country’s political and military
    leadership lodging a personal interest in the war economy that exists in Somalia, and
    whose disruption Kenya’s military incursion was meant to achieve.

    It is to be hoped that this brilliantly-written report by Journalists for Justice, which
    expertly marshals the latest evidence of what is wrong with Kenya’s continuing presence
    in Somalia, will spur a public discussion in Kenya that will, at last, lead to action towards
    accountability for the mistakes that have been made. Each passing day of inertia in the
    face of the overwhelming evidence of what has gone wrong further imperils the country
    because, as the report warns, Kenya’s invasion of Somalia has brought Somalia’s conflict
    dynamics into the heart of Kenyan society.

    George Kegoro
    Nairobi
    November 11, 2015
    http://www.jfjustice.net/userfiles/file/Research/Black%20and%20White%20Kenya's%20Criminal%20Racket%20in%20Somalia.pdf

  • Samuel Kamau njiru

    an upper-class boy in Kenya.

  • Of Bailouts and Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

    by moranga06

    You know a Kenyan has sunk to the depths of despair when they let out the ultimate cry of helplessness: “Naomba serikali.” Sadly, as we all know, the government of Kenya is the last institution you want to bank your hopes on when the tides of tragedy beat against your stricken vessel.

    In the unlikely event that government officials pick up on your SoS – and have enough fuel on their boat – they’ll probably arrive at your location only to realize they forgot to carry rope or the one available is too short to be of any help.

    Such are the terrible straits that three listed Kenyan companies find themselves in. Mumias Sugar, Uchumi and Kenya Airways began with a mild fever accompanied with the dry coughs of profit warnings. Symptoms which quickly unraveled to a yet to be determined terminal illness, probably cancer, given the radiotherapy and chemotherapy sessions prescribed by Ministry of Treasury.

    A fourth patient, National Bank of Kenya is visibly heaving and rocking on its weak foundations. The board of directors denies reports of imminent collapse. Yet even that sounds more like a face saving measure than a solid reassurance of the bank’s fundamentals.

    Tunaomba Serikali

    Mumias Sugar and Kenya Airways long stopped saving face and lifted the curtains to let us in on their houses that lie in disarray. Their frantic cash calls and cries for government bailout should be seen for what they really are – the classic “tunaomba serikali” moment.

    Mumias recently ground to a halt under a heap of debt before the state gave it a Sh.1 billion kick up the backside. Meanwhile, Kenya Airways is tilting against the windmills with its call for a Sh.60 billion bailout. The state feels compelled to save the miller and the airline more for what they represent than for any altruistic motive.

    But what’s the point in having a jewel in the crown if the coronet is less than a perfect fit? Does the history of state bailouts in Kenya engender hope or spell doom?

    Unfortunately, the history of bailouts in the country is fraught with more failure than success. A penny for the thoughts of Mumias Sugar and Kenya Airways as they consider the chilling fact that the government has killed more companies than it has revived. From Nyayo and Kenya Buses, coffee, pyrethrum, textiles, Uchumi to Webuye Pan Paper, the government has either stood aloof with indifference as industries crashed and burned or botched attempted bailouts.

    Asian Tanks

    Queuing up for the state’s financial mercies in light of such corporate debris should feel like lining up at the slaughter house than lounging in the doctor’s lobby.

    Whether they meet at the slaughter house or at the doctor’s lobby, Mumias and KQ will no doubt see their individual struggles in each other’s experience. Both enjoyed significant success and expansion in the past decade. The sugar miller diversified into electric power and bottled water production and even mooted plans to set up a dairy plant. On the other hand, the airline spread its wings across the continent and even to the Far East precipitating the purchase of new aircraft.

    However, the wheels began to come off the tracks for both when Asian investors parked their battle tanks on the local firms’ lawns. Mumias couldn’t cope with the efficiencies of Kenyan-Asian owned sugar millers. Kenya Airways couldn’t match the lower fares on offer at Middle-Eastern carriers.

    If Asians are eating Mumias and KQ’s lunch, at least they do so in the light of day. Shadowy characters lurk in the bushes stalking the ailing firms with the sinister motive of eating their breakfast and supper.

    Kenya Bus on Wings

    Politicians rushing to the rescue of Mumias and KQ ominously look like construction workers leaving their building site to save victims of a car accident. We should expect little from folk who only know how to push, pull, mix, throw and crush.

    Little wonder they bailout Mumias one day and order for cheap sugar imports the next. Kenya Airways is Kenya Bus on wings. The bus company had to go down for Citi Hoppa to rise. Never mind the new bus company was owned by the last Kenya Bus MD. Brookside Dairies won’t be straddling the local dairy industry like a colossus had someone not strangled KCC. Therefore, ODM chairman John Mbadi’s claim that there’s a sinister plan to bring down KQ so some local investors buy it on the cheap should be taken seriously.

    It’s not a promising outlook for Mumias and KQ. If and when they go belly up, the vampires and wolves that shall sink their teeth and eat their insides will be the same sheep purporting to bail them out in the present time.

  • DAILY NATION EDITORIAL:

    An opinion poll released at the weekend gave an unflattering assessment of the status of the nation as most of respondents said the country was headed in the wrong direction.

    The main reason for this is that there are many issues of deep national concern that remain unresolved. At the top of the list is soaring corruption, insecurity, economic decline, mismanagement of public resources, and poor delivery of public services such as health and education.

    Many arms of government are not working and there is a growing sense of intolerance. Anybody perceived to be critical or holding a dissenting view is scolded and intimidated.

    There are attempts to entrench silence and unanimity by force.
    Although the poll focuses on the national government, it is as much an indictment of the county governments that are equally messy. The level of graft, greed, and sleaze in the counties is just as worrying as it is nationally.

    The situation has been made even worse by intolerance and recklessness. Indeed, that is what prompted retired President Kibaki to speak out at the weekend and candidly tell the Jubilee administration to listen to its opponents and eschew the aggression that has become its stock response.

    Unless checked, the country is headed to a situation where corruption and other vices may become part of national life, which would be tragic. Already, the country is witnessing many cases where leaders commit serious crimes but are not penalised.

    The opinion poll provides an opportunity to examine the status of the nation and make a resolve to deal with the critical issues affecting the population.

    The government must stop living in denial and face the realities that are making people think that the country is headed in the wrong direction.

  • ruto bure kabisa

    Stop interfering with court process

    By The Standard
    Updated Wednesday, November 18th 2015 at 00:00 GMT +3

    The 14th session of the Assembly of State Parties (ASP) starts today in The Hague.

    Kenyan legislators from the ruling Jubilee alliance, indicated they would travel enmasse to petition ASP member states to prevail upon the International Criminal Court (ICC) not to use recanted evidence in the cases against Kenya’s Deputy, President William Ruto, and journalist Joshua Sang.

    Their efforts are likely to come to a dead end following a formal warning from the ICC judges and the Office of the Prosecutor that the cases against William Ruto and Joshua must not be discussed at the ASP meeting. Doing so, in any case, would be sub judice. Legislators from Jubilee have tried hard to discredit the ICC process, yet their efforts are guided more by the need for self-preservation and selfish interests than national good. Many have conveniently forgotten they personally invited what they now refer to as an ‘imperialist ICC’ to Kenya with their chants in parliament; ‘Don’t be vague, let’s go to The Hague’. This myopia has come back to haunt them.

    Political rallies disguised as prayer meetings by the deputy president’s loyalists have completely missed the bigger picture. Organisers of these prayer meetings move around completely oblivious of the fact there are traumatised survivors of the post-2007 election horror crying out for justice.

    To these leaders, perhaps the deaths of 35 people in the Kiambaa church arson attack are a fairy tale. The more than 1200 people who were needlessly killed are mere statistics. The plight of more than 60,000 people who bore the indignity of living as refugees in their own country in sordid conditions for eight years, is inconsequential.

    Politicking will not determine the outcome of these cases. Guilt or the absence thereof will be determined by the ICC on the basis of the evidence. Our legislators must desist from interfering in a court process; more so because they believe that the deputy president is innocent.

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