Close to 30,000 sheep and goats from Somalia were turned back after health authorities in Saudi Arabia detected Rift Valley Fever disease, the Gulf nation has said defending its move to reject the animals barely a month after it lifted the two year ban.
A statement from the Saudi Government Saturday noted the livestock which was the first batch since the lifting of the ban early July were infected by Rift Valley Fever (RF).
The 27,000 goats and sheep aboard Alpha Livestock 19 vessel was turned back last week to Bosaso port in Puntland. The livestock had been bought from Somali farmers and transported to Saudi Arabia by three businessmen namely Mohamed Ahmud, Ahmud Mahabub and Mazib Shalwi.
The Saudi Environment and Agriculture ministry said the decision to return the livestock was in accordance with the Kingdom laws and those of the Gulf region.
Saudi Arabia banned import of livestock from Somalia in 2016 citing disease infections forcing livestock keepers to look for alternative markets.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates livestock farmers earned over $350 million in 2015 following export of up to 5.4 million cows, sheep, goats and camels.