By: Evelyne Syombua (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. Thumbnail photo courtesy of africanews.
On Wednesday the 27th of January, Somalia threatened to withdraw from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development after the group sided with Kenya in a diplomatic row between the two countries. On Monday the 25th of January, Somalia ordered all its diplomats in Kenya to leave within seven days while also giving Kenyan diplomats to quit within the same period. This comes after the diplomatic relations between Kenyan and Somalia being severed for the recent weeks with Somalia blaming Kenya for meddling in its internal political affairs.
Last month IGAD created a fact-finding mission seeking an intervention which was aimed at settling the tension between the two countries. Somalia wrote to the members of IGAD on the 15th of December 2020, demanding an independent mission to verify its claims that Kenta was training forces to fight the Somalia National Army forces stationed in Gedo their common border. This came after it cut its ties with Kenya.
The team which was led by Yacin Elmi Bouh, the Djiboutian Ambassador to Kenya and his colleague to Somalia Aden Hassan Aden and also included an IGAD observer said they had found no evidence supporting violations by Kenya.
The Somalia Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Mohamed Abdirazak on Wednesday said the country will reject the report since those who took part in it were “biased, partisan, unfair, compromised and predetermined to exonerate Kenya”.
The Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the findings of the team were proof that Somalia’s claims were a political ploy meant to distract the region from security issues. “The report of the fact-finding mission affirms the fact that the allegations by Somalia against Kenya are wholly unfounded”, the ministry said in a statement. The ministry further said, “The impartial report definitively settles the matter, Kenya will not be drawn into the reckless campaign whose sole intent remains the creation of artificial fissures for parochial and domestic ends at the expense of regional peace and security and regional integration”.
The report criticised Somalia for severing ties with Kenya, arguing the historical problems faced by the two countries could only be solved through deeper diplomatic engagements. “Somalia strongly holds to all its initial accusations against Kenya and will pursue all means to protect her sovereignty”, Abdirazak said in a statement, threatening that his country will withdraw from Igad.