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Report: Illegal Charcoal Financing Al-Shabab

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The United Nations says that environmental crime is helping to finance criminal, militia and terrorist groups. According to a new report, the militant group al-Shabab makes up to $56 million dollars per year from illegal charcoal. (June 24)

SHOTLIST:

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Kibwezi, Makueni County, Kenya - 20 June 2014

1. Various of women carrying large bundles of firewood on their backs

2. Mid of woman carrying firewood into house

3. Mid of woman cooking using firewood

4. SOUNDBITE: (Swahili) Matthew Mutie, charcoal trader (Transcript Below)

5. Various of women carrying firewood

6. Various of charcoal in sacks on the side of the road for sale

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FILE - Nairobi, Kenya - 24 September 2013

7. Various of militants in Westgate Shopping Mall

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Kibwezi, Makueni County, Kenya - 20 June 2014

8. Pan of charcoal for sale

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Tsavo National Park, Kenya - 19 June 2014

9. SOUNDBITE: (English) Tim Christophersen, Senior Program Officer, United Nations Environment Programme (Transcript Below)

10. Mid of Christophersen walking

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Kibwezi, Makueni County, Kenya - 20 June 2014

11. Mid of women walking with firewood

VOICE-OVER SCRIPT:

A NEW REPORT FROM THE UNITED NATIONS SAYS ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME IS HELPING TO FINANCE CRIMINAL, MILITIA AND TERRORIST GROUPS AROUND THE WORLD...

..HERE IN KENYA, MOST PEOPLE HAVE NO ACCESS TO ELECTRICITY AND MUST RELY ON WOOD AND CHARCOAL FOR ENERGY.

SOUNDBITE: (Swahili) Matthew Mutie, charcoal trader:

"We face many challenges. It is difficult to get water, as the rivers are as far away as Makindu, 20 kilometres (12 miles) from here. We don't have agricultural land we can't plant, as there is no water. So we opt to ensure our survival with the trees that exist. That's our cash crop."

BUT WITH TOUGHER PENALTIES IMPOSED ON ILLEGAL LOGGING...THE ILLEGAL CHARCOAL TRADE IS BOOMING...

GENERATING AN ESTIMATED 38 TO 56 MILLION DOLLARS ANNUALLY FOR SOMALI-BASED MILITANT GROUP AL-SHABAB.

SO FAR, THE GROUP -- WHO CLAIMED RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE DEADLY 2013 ATTACK ON NAIROBI'S WESTGATE MALL -- HAS MANAGED TO EVADE EXPORT BANS.

SOUNDBITE: (English) Tim Christophersen, Senior Programme Officer, Forests and Climate Change Division, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP):

"al-Shabab is linked to extracting taxes from (the) illegal charcoal trade that is often produced in Somalia, but also in neighboring countries and as far away as the Democratic Republic of Congo, and then channeled through Somalia, also for export."

THE U-N SAYS THESE ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES ARE BECOMING MORE SOPHISTICATED...AND WILL THREATEN REGIONAL SECURITY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IF LEFT UNCHECKED.

MAGGIE MAZZETTI, ASSOCIATED PRESS.

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