Somali traders stop khat imports from Kenya

Somalia’s Association of Khat Traders have announced a ban on khat imports from neighbouring Kenya, a day after their Kenyan counterparts threatened to stop exports to Somalia.

This comes amid a diplomatic row between Kenya and Somalia over a maritime territorial dispute.

“Starting from today, we have stopped khat imports from Kenya. We have chosen to defend our nation, our sea and our territories… We will be importing khat from Ethiopia, which will be our new market,” Qoje Mahamud Qeyliye, Chairman of Somalia’s Association of Khat Traders said.

Reports say that Somalia accounts for 90 per cent of Kenya’s khat exports, which is an equivalent of 360m US dollars a year, a huge loss for the country if the ban takes effect.

On February 16, Kenya recalled its ambassador to Somalia and asked Somalia’s envoy in Nairobi to leave the country, after accusing Mogadishu of auctioning off oil blocks in the Indian Ocean belonging to Kenya.

Somalia has denied the claims and vowed not to withdraw its case against Kenya at the International Court of Justice.