Kenya Navy soldiers patrolling Lamu’s Indian Ocean waters have intercepted two boats ferrying a consignment of miraa estimated to be worth about Sh25 million.
The boats carrying the khat were headed to Somalia before they were nabbed on Tuesday evening at Barakuda area, about 100 kilometres from Lamu Island.
Confirming the incident, Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia said the soldiers handed over the sacks of miraa to Kenya Coast Guard officials who then ferried it to Manda Ras Kitau beach where the entire consignment was torched.
“The culprits claimed they were transporting the herbs to Kiunga Town which is on the border of Lamu with Somalia. But we’re aware of their secret businesses of ferrying it into Somalia…People should know that we have an active ban on miraa across Lamu County as we try to curb the spread of coronavirus to this region,” said Mr Macharia.
He said the miraa ban in Lamu will be in place until Covid-19 is eliminated from the country.
He warned those disregarding the ban to expect more stringent measures.
Last week, police at Minjila, Garsen, Madogo and Witu roadblocks intercepted trucks that were ferrying miraa to Tana River and Lamu counties.
Several sacks of the herb were seized and burnt to ashes as members of the public watched in a move calculated at discouraging the business during this period when the government is battling a pandemic.
Mohamed Abdulkadir, who is the chairperson of the Coast Interfaith Council of Clerics (CICC), said they fully support the war on miraa in Lamu.
“I am always sad when I see miraa and muguka traders and consumers openly flouting the existing ban…We support the government ban on the herb. In fact, these miraa and muguka dens are the most populated areas, which increases the risk of the spread of Covid-19. All dens must be raided and closed,” he said.