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Monday, 30 July, 2001, 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK
Kenya bans trading with Somalia
Somali imports
Many Somali imports come from Kenya
President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya has once again halted cross-border trade with neighbouring Somalia over ''security concerns''.

President Moi complains that weapons flow unchecked across the border into Kenya fueling cattle rustling, robberies and car jackings.

It is the second time in two years that Mr Moi has taken such a step and he says Kenya will only deal with Somalia after it installs a legitimate government.

Correspondents say the decision will be a blow to President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan's transitional government, which needs the support of regional leaders in the face of continued opposition from warlords.

Khat blow

The Somali business community back the transitional government, but many of them rely on trading between Kenya and Somalia and will be unhappy with President Moi's decision.

President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan
President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan will be unhappy
Daily flights of the mildly narcotic leaf, khat, have already stopped between Kenya and Somalia.

It is grown in Kenya and exported in large quantities to Somalia, where millions are thought to be addicted.

Shortages are developing in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, and bales of the substance are sitting rotting at Wilson Airport in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Traders have appealed to the Kenyan Government to be allowed to complete current transactions.

Border

Kenya plays host to hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees, in camps in northern Kenya and thousands more have homes in Nairobi.

President Moi
President Moi: Fed up with Somali gunrunners
Armed crime has risen sharply in Kenya since the collapse of Siad Barre's government in 1991 and Kenya's long border with Somalia is notoriously difficult to police.

President Moi last closed the border in August 1999 after a Kenyan army post was attacked by armed Somalis. The border was reopened in April 2000.

See also:

29 Aug 00 | Africa
Somalia's new civilian leader
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