Shabelle Media Network Mogadishu
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Kenya on Sunday dismissed a United Nations report linking its troops to illicit charcoal trade from a port under their control in Somalia. State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu condemned the allegation « in the strongest terms possible, » terming it « hogwash masquerading as research. »

The Kenyan troops are part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which is helping the Somali government battle terror group Al-Shabaab.

« We are focused on the job that took us to Somalia in the first place, and will not be distracted by the latest hogwash masquerading as research, » Esipisu told journalists in Nairobi.

A UN Monitoring Group report, published by a Kenyan daily on Sunday, said Kenyan troops in Somalia received fees for allowing illicit exports of charcoal from the port of Kismayu.

The report said the Kenyan troops received 2 US dollars per bag of charcoal at Kismayu, citing charcoal industry and non-governmental organizations sources.

The report estimated that up to 6 million bags of charcoal had been exported annually from Kismayu and Buur Gaabo, another port adjacent to a Kenyan army base in Somalia.

Charcoal exports are banned by the UN Security Council in 2012 in an effort to cut off funding for Al-Shabaab.

Esipisu said the UN report appeared as a regurgitation of reports NGOs have issued over time, with the sole agenda of « demoralizing » Kenyan troops.

Days ago, Kenya was angered by the UN chief’s dismissal of Kenyan Lt. General Johnson Kimani Ondieki as the commander of the UN peacekeeping force in South Sudan.