Kenya-Somalia rift widens over new Wajir security checks

FILE PHOTO | Somalia Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Isse Awad and his Kenyan counterpart Amb. Monica ...
FILE PHOTO | Somalia Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Isse Awad and his Kenyan counterpart Amb. Monica Juma at a past meeting.

The Somalia Government has raised concern over the reintroduction of additional security checks on its citizens in Wajir.

A letter from the country’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday faulted the new security checks on Somali passengers.

Also Read: Three Somalia gov’t officials denied entry at JKIA in diplomatic standoff

“This is inconsistent with an agreement reached between our two governments in respect of conducting direct flights from Mogadishu to Nairobi,” the statement reads.

The Somalia Foreign Ministry further added that the move is against the neighbourly bond that exists between Kenya and Somalia and urged the government to consider the ‘destabilizing’ impacts of its decision.

The letter also confirmed that several Cabinet ministers and parliamentarians were on Monday evening detained at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

Somalia Deputy Minister of Water and Energy Osman Libah, Senators Ilyas Ali Hassan and Zamzam Dahir

This despite Kenya’s Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma saying the government was ‘not aware’ of any diplomatic tiff and anyone who travels to Kenya must have applied for their visa before arrival.

Also Read: Government ‘not aware’ of JKIA standoff with Somalia Gov’t officials

According to the Somalia Foreign Affairs Ministry, the officials had their passports confiscated and they were forced to return home.

Despite the standoff, Somalia says it will still allow Kenyan citizens and government officials to travel to the country.

There are reports that the maritime standoff between Kenya and Somalia and the abduction of two Cuban doctors could be the reason for the latest diplomatic altercation.

The Somalia government however issued a statement in the wake of the escalating maritime border row with Kenya denying that they auctioned oil and gas blocks.

Somalia ambassador to Kenya Ahmed Nur was sent back to Somalia for ‘consultation’ after the row erupted.

President Uhuru Kenyatta later called for a Cabinet meeting where they agreed on resolutions to safeguard Kenya’s marine resources including offshore oil and gas exploration acreage in the Indian Ocean.

Two months later, the relationship between Kenyan and Somalia was strained even more after two doctors were kidnapped by suspected Al Shabaab militants from Madera.

It is alleged that the militants crossed over to Somalia with the two doctors.

Their abductors have since demanded for Ksh.150million ransom but the Kenyan Government through CS Juma has warned that they will not negotiate with terrorists.

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