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Somalia lifts ban on Kenya miraa exports

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Miraa farmer Henry Karuti sells the stimulant at the Muringene market in Meru on July 12, 2016. Flights transporting miraa from Kenya to Somalia will resume September 14, 2016. FILE PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A side meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his host Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud might have saved the ailing miraa business after the Somali government lifted a ban on the stimulant.

Tuesday evening, the Somali government lifted its ban on miraa imports from Kenya, a week after it accused Meru Governor Peter Munya of using the trade to break up the Horn of Africa country.

The lifting of the ban means planeloads of miraa will resume direct flights into Mogadishu starting Wednesday, according to a statement by State House.

“The agreement was reached at a meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud in Mogadishu,” said the statement.

President Kenyatta, the first Kenyan Head of State to visit Mogadishu in 30 years, also secured an agreement for Kenya Commercial Bank to open an office in Mogadishu.

He was here to attend to the Igad summit, but a ban on miraa exports was threatening to kill Kenya’s last strongest market for people in Meru County.

Last week, Mogadishu stopped planes heading to Mogadishu. It initially accused Mr Munya of promising to lobby independence of Somaliland if it gave favourable miraa trade policies.

But sources had further argued it was to clear the Somali skies ahead of the historic Igad meeting

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