Igad team dismisses Somalia allegations on Kenya

Kenya' President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Somali counterpart Mohamed Farmaajo in Nairobi in 2019.

Photo credit: PSCU

Somalia is yet again accusing Kenya of territorial violations. The country’s Federal Government officials on Monday claimed they had “confirmed” Kenya had trained and armed fighters from the Jubbaland state government, who then tried to attack an army base of the Somali National Army in Bulahawo, Gedo near Mandera County.

However, this came on the same day a team appointed by Djibouti President Ismael Guelleh found Somalia’s similar earlier claims against Kenya unsubstantiated.

The Nation learnt that a team set up by the Djiboutian leader to help resolve earlier, similar tensions had submitted a report to both countries, finding no fault on the part of Kenya.

Instead, the Fact Finding Commission suggested more diplomatic engagements in future to resolve wrangles.

President Guelleh’s team had been appointed as a commission of the regional bloc – the Intergovernmental Authority in Development (Igad) – after Somalia protested to the regional body, accusing Kenya of constant interference.

The report presented to presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Mohamed Farmaajo (Somalia), found Mogadishu’s accusations unjustifiable, saying there had been no evidence to prove Kenya was inciting or supporting Jubbaland forces against the Somalia National Army.

The envoys did admit that some of the grievances Somalia had raised were historical but said Somalia did not justify severance of ties.

Seek investigation

As a pre-condition for reopening diplomatic ties, Somalia’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdirazak had told the media in December last year that they had asked Igad to investigate Kenya’s violation of Somalia's airspace and the training and arming of militia hostile to the Somalia National Army.

Somalia had also accused Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) of refusing to guard liberated areas inside Somalia, allowing them to fall back into the hands of al-Shabaab,.

Mogadishu also tabled an accusation that the KDF had smuggled sugar and charcoal in Somalia in collaboration with al-Shabaab, even though this accusation had been lifted earlier by the UN Panel of Experts, which argued last year that the militants were now focused on infiltrating key government agencies, including Somalia’s taxman.

After visiting Mogadishu, Nairobi and Mandera, the team reported that the allegations could not be proved. They said there was insufficient evidence to show Kenya was hosting Somali militia.

Yesterday, officials in Nairobi said Mogadishu’s latest claims were a diversion from an internal problem.

On Monday, Kenya wrote to the African Union, raising concerns that the fighting between the national and regional forces near its border were a security risk.

“Kenya is concerned that if the fighting continues unabated, the situation could further destabilise the region, complicate the security situation and reverse the gains made in the fight against terrorism,” the Foreign Affairs ministry said in a statement.