Residents of Lamu and the Coastal region have been warned against involving themselves in charcoal trade.
Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata says charcoal burning is a dangerous activity which is also used to aid terrorism activities and therefore should be stopped.
Speaking during a tour of Boni forest this week, Mr Elungata observed that charcoal burning had increased at the coastal region in recent times, particularly in the various forests in Lamu, and was causing environmental degradation.
The Coast Regional Commissioner directed the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) officers in the region to enforce the ban and ensure the trade doesn’t take place in those places.
He also appealed to all stakeholders to channel their efforts towards fighting the now illegal charcoal trade.
Mr Elungata said it’s unfortunate that some of those posing as charcoal burners could actually be terrorists or sympathizers planning attacks in the region.
He termed the trade as a dangerous and ordered it stopped immediately.
“We don’t want people burning charcoal in forests or anywhere else for that matter-- we don’t want a scenario where Lamu becomes the main source of all the charcoal being supplied to Mombasa, Nairobi and the rest,” said Mr Elungata.
He urged residents to be at the forefront in conserving the environment.
Mr Elungata’s announcement was however countered by Lamu East MP Athman Shariff who defended charcoal burners saying they only do it for subsistence use and not for commercial purposes.
The MP also asked the government to clearly state how the ban will be effected as it might be misused by security officers and used to frustrate locals.
In March 2018, the security department in Lamu revealed that proceeds from illegal logging and charcoal burning inside the Boni forest were being used to fund Al-Shabaab militants hiding inside the dense forest.
The revelation subsequently led to the launch of a massive crackdown on the loggers and charcoal burners inside the expansive forest in a move to ensure the illegal trade comes to an end.