The government of Somalia has announced that it will withdraw its diplomats from Kenya and has given Kenyan diplomats seven days to leave Mogadishu.
Disclosing the development, Information minister Osman Abukar Dubbe said Somali’s Mogadishu-based government was recalling its diplomatic staff from Kenya and was giving Kenyan diplomats seven days to leave Somalia.
Local reports have it that the Minister did not specify the reason for the latest rift between Mogadishu and Nairobi but accused Kenya’s “current leadership” of carry out “recurring outright” interference in Somalia, while describing the people of Kenya as “peace-loving.”
It would be recalled that earlier on, Mogadishu expelled Kenya’s ambassador and recalled its own ambassador from Nairobi.
Potentially lucrative oil and gas deposits lie off the coast of Jubbaland.
As of the time of filing this report, Kenya’s government, which was yet to respond to the development, had in early 2019 recalled its ambassador after Mogadishu decided to auction oil and gas blocks. Those severed ties were restored in November last year.
Kenyan foreign ministry spokesman Cyrus Oguna noted that Kenya had been “very kind” in accommodating some 200,000 Somalis at refugee camps.
“We have a lot of commonality between these two countries,” said Oguna.
Somalia tense despite peacekeeping forces
It is imperative to note that bedeviled by warfare since the early 1990s, Somalia’s Mogadishu-based government, with backing from African Union-led peacekeeping forces as well as 700 US troops has clawed back swathes of land from al Shabaab insurgents.
On their part, Kenya is a major contributor of troops to the African Union-led force, AMISOM.
Local reports have it that bombers have struck repeatedly in Mogadishu, however, including a fatal attack at a restaurant near the Somali capital’s police academy on November 17.