Police and Kilifi County officials yesterday intercepted two trucks ferrying miraa (Khat) and set them ablaze in Mariakani. They said the move was a precaution to avert the spread of coronavirus disease.
The incident comes barely three days after another consignment of miraa was set ablaze in Tana River by county officials for the same reasons.
The two trucks were ferrying miraa from Meru County that was to be distributed in various parts of Mombasa and Kilifi where the commodity has a larger market.
Mariakani Sub-County Police Commander Ezekiel Chepkwony confirmed the two trucks were intercepted after which the commodity was removed and burnt.
He said the public health officials who participated in the exercise did so in compliance with the ban by the county government.
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"I understand that the total value of the khat was approximately Sh11 million," said police Chief.
The Mombasa Miraa Traders Association chairman Mwenda Karani protested the move saying the officials had not issued them with a notice on the ban.
He confirmed the sentiments of the police chief that three tones of miraa which were destroyed were worth approximately Sh11 million and were destined for Mombasa and Kilifi markets.
"We encountered a big loss. These are rumours and we are demanding for compensation," he said.
The traders’ union boss who has been in the business for the last 10 years said he had paid Sh45,000 for each truck-a fee charged by the county government.
He said they have been paying Sh50,000 for each truck to ferry the khat from Meru to Mombasa daily.
Kilifi County Secretary Jefwa Mkware confirmed the county had issued a notice on the ban three weeks ago to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
However, he distanced the county government from the ambush on trucks saying that it was an issue of a national government.
"We had issued a ban on miraa after the outbreak of the Covid-19 three weeks ago but yesterday's incident was the work of national government. None of our officers was involved at all," he told the Standard on phone.