President Uhuru Kenyatta has dispatched a delegation led by Interior Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Fred Matiang’i, to Somalia in a bid to resolve security issues that flared up recently.
The President’s move follows a phone call with Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo in which they discussed recent border tensions.
Last week on Monday, Somalia National Army battled Jubbaland forces in Bula Hawa near Mandera County, a fight that spilt over to the Kenyan border.
On Sunday, Interior CS Matiang’i led the delegation to Villa Somalia, the official residence of the Somalia President alongside Defence CS Monica Juma and top-ranking officers from the Department of Defence.
“Following the recent wave of security challenges along the Kenya-Somalia border, some senior state officers and I have been dispatched by H.E. President Kenyatta to meet his counterpart, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo, with a view to ironing out the persistent cross-border issues,” Dr. Matiang’i confirmed the President’s directive.
On Wednesday, Kenya and Somalia in strongly-worded statements accused each other of territorial integrity violations.
In particular, Nairobi accused Mogadishu of an “unwarranted attack and flagrant breach” on the frontier town of Mandera, during which heavy gunfight broke out between Somalia’s forces and militia-allied to a fugitive regional security minister.
In a statement by State House spokesperson, Ms. Kanze Dena-Moraro accused Somalia of breaching international law on military battles.
“The foreign soldiers, in flagrant breach and total disregard of international laws and conventions, engaged in aggressive and belligerent activities by harassing and destroying properties of Kenyan citizens living in the border town of Mandera,” Ms. Dena-Moraro said.
“This action amounts to an unwarranted attack by foreign soldiers with the intention of provoking Kenya. In keeping with our long-standing and distinguished tradition in peacekeeping and peacebuilding in the region and beyond and in particular, in Somalia, Kenya acted with total restraint,” she said.
On his part, Somalia’s Ambassador to the UN Abukar Dahir Osman accused Kenya of violating Somali territory.
Though, Osman was not specific, he referred to Kenyan authorities’ aiding of General Janaan, and supporting Jubbaland troops.
In the recent past, Kenya and Somalia had rocky relations especially since Somalia refused to withdraw a maritime boundary case at the International Court of Justice.