The United Nations Security Council authorised the inspection of boats suspected of carrying illegal shipments of charcoal or weapons to and from Somalia on Friday, though Russia and Jordan abstained from the vote over concerns about the move.
The resolution, adopted by the 15-member council with 13 votes in favor, approves the use of “all necessary measures” – diplomatic code for military force – to carry out such inspections.
The council imposed an arms embargo on Somalia in 1992 to cut the flow of arms to feuding warlords, who ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and plunged the country into civil war.
The Security Council then banned charcoal exports from Somalia in February 2012 in a bid to cut off funds for al Shabaab, an al Qaeda-affiliated group fighting for control of Somalia and enforcing strict sharia law in areas it occupies.
“It might be used for political gains that go beyond the objectives of the resolution that is to fight illicit trade in charcoal and weapons,” he told the council.
An international coalition of maritime forces has for several years been patrolling the waters around the Horn of Africa nation to counter piracy and other illegal activities.