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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

AU team finds no evidence that Kenya is interfering with Somalia’s internal affairs

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There is no evidence to confirm that Kenya is interfering with Somalia’s its internal affairs and arming militia to destabilize country, a team appointed by the African Union Commission (AUC) to investigate claims by Somalia has said.

The claims had caused a diplomatic spat between Kenya and Somalia prompting a recall of diplomats.

“The commission considers that these grievances, some of which are longstanding, do not appear to it to be sufficient to justify a diplomatic separation between Kenya and Somalia. It is true that the federal government of Somalia is sovereign in its decisions,” says part of a report by the team.

“However, on closer examination, it cannot help but be considered disproportionate and unproductive because the two countries are intimately linked politically, humanely and economically.”

A commission made up of diplomats and military officers and an IGAD representative was later sent to Kenya and Somalia in January with a mission to collect facts and data justifying the respective positions of the two countries.

Somalia claimed there is a violation of the airspace of Somalia, violation of Somalia’s land borders and that Kenyan forces, led by Amisom, leave their positions and move on to other locations and recognition and collaboration with the Jubaland Regional State.

It added the consequences of the diplomatic standoff on the 3,000 Somali children attending Kenyan schools on the other side of the border, the hindrance to the functioning of Amisom which has since been experiencing difficulties in relief operations among Kenyan troops and the economic impact of the embargo on khat in the agricultural region of Meru are a perfect illustration of this.

The team has now recommended that more diplomatic efforts be deployed at the highest level in order to reconcile the two sisterly countries of Kenya and Somalia.

This follows a directive by the 38th IGAD Summit held in Djibouti on December 20, 2020, during which the regional Heads of State and Government meeting discussed the diplomatic crisis that has affected the relationship between Kenya and Somalia.

Somalia had broken off diplomatic relations with Kenya on December 15, 2020, after having earlier recalled its ambassador and sent the Kenyan representative back to his country for consultations with his authorities on November 30, 2020.

 “The Kenyan authorities have recognized Ahmed Madobe as President of Jubaland after elections that were not validated by the central government,” says the report.

It added there was participation in the illegal sugar and coal trade in Kismayo to the enrichment of al Shabaab and creation, training and maintenance on Kenyan soil of an armed group under the authority of Abdirashid Janan in Omar Jilo, 30 km from Mandera, inside Kenyan territory.

Kenya denied all the claims when the team met top officials led by defense Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma and Chief of Kenya Defense Forces Gen Robert Kibochi.

At the end of the meeting with the high-level working group, the commission held another meeting with ambassadors and senior officers of the Kenyan forces to inquire about the situation at the northern border of the country.

The commission was unable to identify an additional camp populated by Somali militias in the overlooked area under control.

On the recognition and collaboration with the regional state of Jubaland, the commission said it has no evidence of such recognition.

“The participation of two influential Kenyan political figures, MPs Aden Duale and Yusuf Hadji in the enthronement ceremony of the president of Jubaland does not constitute recognition. However, no one can contest the proximity of the Kenyan government to the regional authorities to preserve security on their soil in a region infested by terrorists.”

It added Kenya has made great human sacrifices to free this region from the Al-Shabaab militia in order to protect itself from the many attacks that have been perpetrated on its soil.

On the creation, training and maintenance on Kenyan soil of an armed group under the authority of Abdirashid Janan, the commission said it was able to verify that Abdirashid Janan is the Minister of the Interior of the local government of Jubaland and that his troops are under the authority of the army of this region.

“It should be recalled that during the London meeting of May 17, 2017, a Somali security architecture was adopted which maintains the armies of the regions in addition to the regional police. This army has in the past scored notable victories against al Shabaab alongside American forces and Amisom.”

Those in the team included Yacin Elmi Bouh, Ambassador of Djibouti to Kenya, Aden Hassan Aden, and Ambassador of Djibouti to Somalia General Taher Ali Mohamed, Djibouti Armed Forces, FAD Colonel Ali Aden Houmed, FAD Colonel Mohamed Barkad Aden, FAD Commander Houssein Idriss Egueh, FAD Commander Abebe Muluneh, and Director IGAD Security Sector Program.

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