Miraa transporters change route over threat from Al-Shabaab

Transporters have changed the route they use to ferry miraa from Nyambene Hills in Meru County to North-Eastern and southern Somalia due to fear of Al-Shabaab attacks.

From the previous route of Maua via Garba Tula-Modogashe and Wajir road, the traders now use the Isiolo town-Marsabit and Moyale highway before getting to Mandera via Takaba and Bute.

Nyambene Miraa Growers’ Association chairman Isaiah Mwambiu and Miraa Exporters secretary Mungathia Mwilia said the vehicles taking miraa through the Wajir route to Mandera had on several occasions been attacked by Al-Shabaab militants.

The new route is longer but faster as the road between Isiolo town and Moyale is tarmacked.

From Moyale, some transporters take the commodity to Bute in Wajir North, while the second route through Takaba to Mandera serves the local retail market and parts of southern Somalia and markets in northern Ethiopia like Suftu.

However, markets in upper Jubaland are still served through the Garissa route and parts of Wajir through Habaswein and Diif.

Mr Mwambiu said taking miraa by road to parts of North-Eastern and southern Somalia had become risky and security personnel should address the issue.