Stop provoking us - President Uhuru's stern warning to Somalia

Kenya-Somalia relationship getting worse by the day

Stop provoking us - President Uhuru Kenyatta's stern warning to Somalia

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday chaired a Special Session of the National Security Council (NSC) after which he issued a tough warning to the Republic of Somalia over what was termed as unwarranted provocation in interfering with Kenya's territorial integrity.

The President responded amid a pattern of deteriorating diplomatic relations between Kenya and Somalia that on Monday saw the Somalia National Army carry out an operation next to the Kenyan border town of Mandera.

Although the fight was on the Somali side of the border, Kenyan businesses were affected after communications masks were jammed blocking communication in Mandera town for most of the day.

Some Kenyan citizens became casualties of stray bullets that crossed over to the Kenyan side as the Somali army battled soldiers loyal to Jubaland - an autonomous regional government that Somalia refuses to recognize but one with blessings of Kenya.

"The National Security Council noted with concern the violations of Kenya’s territorial integrity and sovereignty by the Somalia National Army on Monday the 2nd March, 2020; where the foreign soldiers in flagrant breach and total disregard of international laws and conventions engaged in aggressive and belligerent activities by harassing and destroying properties of Kenyan citizens living in the border town of Mandera."

"We therefore urge the Federal Government of Somalia, to cease and desist from the unwarranted provocations and focus on managing its internal affairs for the welfare of her people; defeating terrorism; and advancing the cause of peace, security and stability in the region," the statement read in part.

Prior to that, Somalia had through its Ambassador to the UN, Amb. Abukar Dahir Osman, accused Kenya of undermining its territorial integrity - something that Kenya strongly denied.

Here is the full statement:

1. His Excellency the President today, Wednesday, the 4th day of March, 2020 chaired a Special Session of the National Security Council (NSC); during which the Press Release issued by the Federal Government of Somalia on the 5th February, 2020; the accusations by the Government of Somalia made by Amb. Abukar Dahir Osman in New York, on 27th February, 2020; and the subsequent unwarranted attack on Kenya’s territorial integrity and sovereignty by the Federal Government of Somalia on 2nd March, 2020, were considered.

2. The National Security Council noted with concern the violations of Kenya’s territorial integrity and sovereignty by the Somalia National Army on Monday the 2nd March, 2020; where the foreign soldiers in flagrant breach and total disregard of international laws and conventions engaged in aggressive and belligerent activities by harassing and destroying properties of Kenyan citizens living in the border town of Mandera.

3. This action amounts to an unwarranted attack by foreign soldiers with the intention of provoking Kenya. In keeping with our long-standing and distinguished tradition in peace keeping and peace building in the region and beyond and in particular – in Somalia; Kenya acted with total restraint.

4. The baseless accusations and invalid allegations made by the Federal Government of Somalia that Kenya is interfering with Somalia’s internal affairs; are part of a growing and persistent pattern of ill intent to use Kenya as a scapegoat and a tool to justify challenges in Somalia for political reasons. Kenya will not accept to be used in that manner.

5. Indeed, we encourage the Federal Government of Somalia to stop the smear campaign and commit the energy to deliver leadership and prosperity to its people.

6. Kenya has paid a heavy price and continues to make notable investments to peace and security in Somalia, the region and beyond. For many years, Kenya has and continues to host hundreds of thousands of Somalia refugees, many of who have sought refuge in Kenya and chosen Kenya as their home. Indeed, Kenya is proud to note that the fledging peace prevailing in Somalia today has been realized through over 30 years of our steadfast sacrifices and consistent efforts with various Somali stakeholders and other international partners towards lasting peace in Somalia.

7. The Federal Government of Somalia in pursuit of short term political expediency is out to create artificial fissures in the relations between the Republic of Kenya and the Federal Government of Somalia. Kenya therefore joins calls by the United Nations and other regional and international partners urging the Federal Government of Somalia to urgently and exhaustively seek broad political consensus and ensure that key security benchmarks for governance and security relations between the Federal Government and Member States are achieved. These efforts are imperative in consolidating the gains made and ensuring that Somalia is firmly on the trajectory to peace, stability and prosperity; which cannot be achieved through the barrel of a gun.

8. Further, Kenya is desirous to see that security resources in Somalia at both Federal and State level rationally used to defeat Al Shabaab terrorists and stabilize Somalia in order to enable her forces take over national security responsibilities from AMISOM. Al Shabaab terrorists remain the major existential threat to Somalia, Kenya and the Horn of Africa region. Defeating Al Shabaab and its international network should therefore remain the primary security focus of the Federal Government of Somalia as its core mandate.

9. We therefore urge the Federal Government of Somalia, to cease and desist from the unwarranted provocations and focus on managing its internal affairs for the welfare of her people; defeating terrorism; and advancing the cause of peace, security and stability in the region.

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