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Somalia’s Al-Shabaab Bans Smoking Cigarettes, Chewing Khat

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May 9 (Bloomberg) -- Somalia’s al-Shabaab, an Islamic militant group that controls most of the southern and central parts of the country, banned smoking cigarettes and chewing khat, a leafy narcotic, in the Afgoye district.

Anyone caught violating the ban, which includes selling tobacco products, may face 30 days and a fine, said Sheikh Aby Ramla, head of the information department in Afogye, 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) southwest of the capital, Mogadishu.

Al-Shabaab, which the U.S. alleges is linked to al-Qaeda, has been battling the western-backed Somali government for control of the Horn of Africa nation since 2007.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hamsa Omar in Mogadishu via Nairobi at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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