The deal began in April, said the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA), the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, meaning more than 1,100 tons of charcoal has so far been delivered and an estimated 5,500 trees have been felled.
A spokesman for UNSOA, headquartered in Kenya, said he was “unable to confirm” that supplies did not come from Kismayo, Al Shabab’s remaining stronghold and the epicenter of Somalia’s charcoal trade.
AMISOM forces this week closed in on the port city ahead of an expected offensive to push the Islamists out. Senior commanders are said to have fled already, and 10,000 civilians have also left, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported Friday.
The Monitor has seen an UNSOA purchase order for $17,722.50 for 52,125kg (about 115,000 lbs.) of charcoal due for delivery on Aug. 31, among the most recent of the deliveries.