Officials from al-Shabaab, the radical Islamist group opposing the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia, have ordered traders in Afgoye Town, a major trading centre, 30 kilometres south of Mogadishu, to stop exporting livestock to Kenya.
The militants pointed out that Kenya is an enemy of the Wilaya al-Islamiya (Land governed by the Islamist group). They insisted that exporting animals to Kenya would amount to infidelity to Islam.
“Kenyan troops invaded our land,” stated the order on Tuesday. “No exchange of businesses should take place.”
Afgoye is a major market and pastoralists tend to bring their stock for sale.
Buyers generally supply demands from major customers in urban centres like Mogadishu city and Jowhar and Marka towns. Other livestock buyers respond to demands from Kenya where Garissa, the capital of the North Eastern Province, possesses the largest livestock market in the Horn of Africa region.
Traders, who preferred anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, confirmed the order. They said they were compelled to comply with the instructions despite the negative impacts.
Another trader insisted that local markets cannot absorb all the livestock brought to the market in Afgoye. Pastoralists who supply the animals to the market also complained of falling prices.
“We are unable to get enough revenue to compensate our efforts of feeding the animals,” said Kassim Nur, a pastoralist in Lower Shabelle region.
Kenyan troops crossed the border into Somalia in mid-October last year, allegedly in pursuit of al-Shabaab militants who threatened its security and economy when they carried out a spate abductions.
The Kenyan government accused al-Shabaab for the kidnapping of foreign tourists and aid workers from inside its territory and reportedly relocated to areas in Somalia controlled by the fanatical Islamists who joined al-Qaeda in March.
The development comes in the wake of grenade attacks in Kenya that has been blamed on the insurgents.