The Somali government on Monday called on Iraq to launch urgent investigations into a ship carrying 200,000 bags of charcoal smuggled out of the Horn of Africa nation.
Somali Ambassador to the United Nations Abukar Osman said the ship, which has docked at the Iraqi port of Umm Qasri, is said to have forged custom documents indicating to be from Ghana.
“The federal government of Somalia calls on the Iraqi government to expedite investigations and be swift in actions to halt further clearance of the said ship,” Osman said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
He called on international partners to support efforts by Mogadishu in preventing charcoal smuggling out of Somalia.
Osman, who regretted the incident, condemned all parties involved in the racket and those who have been engaged in the illegal export of charcoal from Somalia.
“Illegal charcoal smuggling is detrimental to the security and stability of Somalia, since revenue from illegal charcoal export is the main financial source for the terrorist organizations of al-Shabab and al-Qaida,” Osman said.
The charcoal business has become al-Shabab’s most lucrative source of income, according to the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea.
According to a UN monitoring report, the militant group always pays for weapons and fighters with revenue it earns from taxing traders and from the export of charcoal, trade that was banned by UN Security Council Resolution 2036, which was adopted in 2012.