Isiolo, Kenya: Unscrupulous traders have now turned to smuggle foodstuff through the porous borders of war-torn Somalia and Ethiopia to benefit from Kenya’s high cost of basic goods.
Impeccable sources from security personnel including officers from Customs, police, administration and Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) told the Standard last evening that the rogue traders in cahoots with their counterparts in Somalia and Ethiopia have engaged in the business bringing in foodstuff, petroleum goods, electronics and textile for some months.
They said, the traders are now focusing on smuggling foodstuff to ride on Kenya’s runaway rising food prices.
The officers, mostly falling in middle and junior cadre say the items are sold in Counties neighbouring the two foreign countries like Garissa, Mandera, Wajir, Marsabit, Lamu, Tana-River and Isiolo.
But the officers worry is not the import from Ethiopia, which they said is allowed currently but goes all the way to Nairobi without taxes being paid but that of from Somalia which had officially been blocked when Kenya sent her troops to bring sanity into the war-torn country and counter terrorism from Al-Shabaab.
On Sunday, police in Isiolo impounded a truck full of foodstuff from Somalia that came in the country through Diff and Habaswein in Wajir.
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Isiolo County Commander Charles Ontita said five officers intercepted the lorry in Isiolo town after receiving information from their contacts in Merti.
”The lorry belongs to Abdullahi Kabudu and it was being driven by his son Galgalo and the turn boy was Abdul,” said the officer.
Our sources revealed there are more than five other traders from Isiolo who are also involved in the illicit trade. They questioned how smuggling is still done across Somalia-Kenya border despite heavy presence of KDF.