Kenya-Somalia tiff hits new diplomatic heights

By Fauxile Kibet

In what appears to be a heightened diplomatic standoff between Kenya and Somalia, three Somali citizens were denied entry into Kenya at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on Monday evening.

The three, identified as Osman Liban (Deputy Minister of Water and Energy) and Senators Ilyas Ali Hassan and Zamzam Dahir were travelling to Kenya on Diplomatic passports but were denied entry, forcing them to spend the night at the airport before flying back to Mogadishu on Tuesday morning.

Mr Liban was travelling to Kenya to attend the launch of the EU Trust Fund for Africa programme, which is being opened at the United Nations office in Nairobi today.

The programme dubbed “Collaboration in Cross Border Areas of the Horn of Africa” will be opened by Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma and is expected to also give more details regarding the Somali officials.

The affected officials were advised to go back to Somalia and get visas at the Kenyan embassy before being allowed into the East African country.

It is believed that the maritime dispute between the two countries, in which Kenya is accusing Somalia of auctioning its oil blocks, could have caused the standoff.

Somalia has however denied the accusations maintaining the oil wells Kenya claims were in its territory.

Two weeks ago, Kenya ordered all flights originating from Mogadishu to pass through Wajir for security checks.