Somailandsun: The government of Somaliland has arrested a number of people and confiscated nine vehicles used to transport illegally imported Khat from Ethiopia.
This is as a result of a one month ban imposed on the government on the import of the herbal stimulant from Ethiopia and subsequent chewing as part of Covid-19 Corona virus spread prevention measures.
The huge quantity of illegally imported Khat was nabbed in Hargeisa, Burao, Baligubadle, Gabile, Harirad and other major towns of the country according to a statement issued by national police operations commander Colonel Mohamed Duale.
“In Hargeisa we confiscated and burned 214 bundles of Khat” Said colonel Duale adding that all persons arrested in possession of the Khat shall be arraigned in court.
Other quantities burned were as follows Burao 1070 bundles, Gabile 400, Harirad 70, and baligubadle 140 bundles.
Earlier in the week 1700 bundles of Khat were burned in Borama by Awdal regional officials led by the Governor and his police commander.
According to the Awdal regional police boss lieutenant Colonel Abdirahman Colhaye said that the huge quantity of Khat was burned because it was illegal having been brought into the country after ban date became effective.
“This consignment was illegal for it didn’t pass through the regular import channels liked the custom and excise as per law not to mention that the importers were versed on the one month ban imposed by the central government of Somaliland” said Lt Colonel Colhaye
Similarly the persons arrested in possession of the Khat shall be arraigned in court to face consequences of their having breached the law, said the regional police chief adding that such an incident is unprecedented since Khat imports were legal until last Monday.
In Hargeisa five persons have been arraigned in court on charges of importing Khat after the ban became effective.
The five who all pleaded guilty to the charges at the Hargeisa regional court face a term in prison as well as confiscation of the vehicle used to transport the herbal stimulant
Though the ban has been put into action by major importers Khat is being availed illegally but at a very high cost especially in the capital Hargeisa
Addressing a press briefing in Hargeisa the deputy interior minister Nasir Aideed warned that any person found contravening the one month ban imposed on Khat importation and chewing shall face the wrath of law without favour.
So far Somaliland has confirmed six corona virus infection cases, three have recovered and one death.