Proceeds from illegal charcoal trade are used in fuelling terrorism in Kenya

Proceeds from illegal logging and charcoal burning in Boni forest in Lamu County located on the Northern Coast of Kenya, are being used for funding by Al-Shabaab militants hiding in the dense forest.

This was made known by the Lamu Police Commander, Muchangi Kioi during the launch of a crackdown on loggers and charcoal burners, where he said “We have discovered that proceeds from charcoal, timber and even game meat are being used to buy food and water for Al-Shabaab terrorists inside Boni forest and therefore, warn members of the public against engaging in such businesses.”

Forest areas where charcoal burning and illegal logging of timber is rampant have had frequent cases of Al-Shabaab attacks, Kioi noted. The commander, however, stated that the police have intensified patrols to ensure there is no logging in the area and the force is working closely with the various units participating in the multi-agency Linda Boni operation to end logging.

Witu Forest Manager, John Mbori, said that “the logging ban will succeed only if we move in one direction. We really need to conserve our environment including the trees.”

About 240 bags of charcoal and tonnes of timber were recovered during a crackdown in Ziwa la Kengo, Ziwa la Taa and Maisha Masha expansive forests on Monday, where four suspects were also arrested. The crackdown comes days after the Kenya Forest Service officers recovered eight tonnes of the Bambaru wood worth Sh800,000 at Maisha Masha in Witu Division, according to report. The timber was seized following a tip-off from the public. The crackdown also comes a month after the Kenyan Government imposed a 90-day ban on logging.

The tree, which grows alongside mangroves, is endangered, particularly on the Coast.