Border row: US pressure may have forced Somalia to back down

Friday March 06 2020

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo (left) and his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta during a press conference in Nairobi on November 14, 2019. PHOTO | PSCU


Pressure from the US government may have forced Somalia President Mohamed Farmaajo to announce a climbdown in tensions with Kenya.

A day after Nairobi accused Somalia of violating its territorial integrity by having its soldiers fight on Kenyan soil, President Farmaajo placed a call to his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, offering to de-escalate the tensions.

The Kenyan government did not speak publicly of the event, even though senior diplomats in Nairobi confirmed it was President Farmaajo who placed a call to President Kenyatta.

Villa Somalia, the official residence of the Somalia President confirmed the call, but it also did not indicate who initiated it.

“President of the (Federal) Republic of Somalia and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta spoke over the phone and discussed the importance of working find a solution on boundary security and overall regional stability,” Villa Somalia said in a statement on Twitter, in Somali language.

“President Farmaajo and President Kenyatta underlined that the security of the two nations is interconnected with each other, and anything that could result in misunderstanding needs to be avoided.”


As it is, Somalia said it had agreed with Kenya to form a joint committee to boost diplomatic and trade relations between the two peoples.

On Thursday, sources told the Nation the call was placed only after the US intervened.

For the past one month, the Somali National Army (SNA) and the Jubbaland forces have been plotting against each other, ostensibly after a local security minister known as Abdirashid Janan fled jail in Mogadishu back to Jubbaland, and into Kenya.

Those tensions erupted this week on Monday after SNA and Jubbaland forces fought near Mandera in Bula-Hawo on the border with Kenya.