People Daily Reporter @PeopleDailyKe
Five cargo planes destined for Mogadishu were stuck in Nairobi with miraa (khat) worth Sh60 million following cancellation of flights to Somalia. The flights were grounded after Somali Civil Aviation Minister Ali Ahmed Jangali said the country had temporarily suspended all miraa imports starting yesterday.
Nyambene Miraa Traders Association spokesman Kimathi Munjuri told People Daily the cargo was being held at the airport while more miraa was stuck in Eastleigh and would likely be returned to Meru.
A plane carries at least 90 bags of miraa. “Some traders are engaging the Kenya Airports Authority management to establish what is happening. We are also consulting Kenyan leaders to know the way forward.
We want to use alternative airports in Gulmudug State,” Munjuri said. Jangali wrote to miraa cargo operators informing them of the flight suspension.
“While considering special circumstances, Somali Civil Aviation and Meteorology Authority on behalf of the Federal Republic of Somalia is hereby informing all miraa cargo operators and anyone it may concern that miraa cargo flights into Somalia have been cancelled until further notice,” he said.
The minister also warned that any violation of Somali airspace and disregard of the notice would have consequences. The Somalia government gave no reason for the ban and it is not clear how long it will last.
The ban deals a big blow to miraa farmers who rely on Somalia as their main market after countries in Europe slapped a ban on the crop regarded as a drug.
Officials at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport confirmed that they had been notified of the suspension. The officials said at least 20 flights carrying the crop from Nairobi have been flying to Somalia daily.
Read more: www.mediamaxnetwork.co.ke/people-daily/250491/sh60m-miraa-grounded-in-nairobi/