President Uhuru Kenyatta announces direct flights to Mogadishu

The flights were stopped at the height of counter-insurgency measures to prevent the infiltration by members of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group from entering Kenya.

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Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the resumption of direct flights between Nairobi and Mogadishu on March 23 at State House in Nairobi, where he held bilateral talks with visiting Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.

“I have directed the security teams from both countries to meet immediately and agree on the modalities of relaunching direct flights between Nairobi and Mogadishu," President Kenyatta said.

Mohamed Farmajo on his part expressed his appreciation for Kenya’s “sacrifices on many fronts," and pledged a closer working relationship with Kenya.

“Part of this will be to remove barriers to trade and enhance security in East Africa," He said.

President Kenyatta also ordered the opening up of two border posts to allow the movement of people and goods between the two countries.

“In particular, we agreed the following actions: Within the shortest time possible, open two border posts at Dobley-Libol and Mandera -Bulahawa, and to facilitate the movement of people, goods and services," Uhuru said.

Second on the agenda was the multi billion Miraa (Khat) trade which following Britain and Netherland’s ban in 2015, Somali is the only viable market left for Kenya.

President Kenyatta also added that Kenya will train 500 Somali personnel as part of a wider campaign to enable the country to get back on its feet after close to three decades of instability.

The contingent will comprise 200 teachers, 200 nurses and 100 administrators.

Kenya contributes about 3,500 troops to the Africa Union Mission in Somalia (UNISOM) which is in the process of reclaiming Somalia from the grip of Al Shabaab Militia.

The two leaders today attended a special Heads of State summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to discuss durable solutions to the Somali refugee crisis.

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