The government of Somalia says it severed diplomatic ties with Kenya overnight in response to what the Somalis describe as ‘Kenyan interference and violations of their sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The recent riff is believed to be linked to Kenya’s relationship with Somaliland, a semi-autonomous state which declared its independence from Somalia in 1991. However, very few countries formally recognize Somaliland as an independent state.
In an announcement made on state-run SNTV, Somalia Minister of Information Osman Abukar Dubbe ordered Kenyan diplomats to leave the country within seven days. It also summoned back its diplomats from Nairobi.
He noted that the decision to sever relationships with Kenya was informed by the latter’s frequent ‘interference’ with Somalia’s politics and that Kenya ‘always wants to create problems in Somalia’.
Kenya in its response dismissed the claims terming them unsubstantiated allegations.
The escalation of the diplomatic spat comes two days after Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi arrived in Kenya on a three-day state visit that included talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenya and Somaliland do not have formal diplomatic ties but President Abdi’s visit is seen as part of a larger Kenyan strategy to not only develop economic relations with Somaliland but to improve political stability in the region.
Somaliland said it was an independent country that had a right to make decisions to strengthen its mutual ties with Kenya, which is also an independent country.
Story compiled with assistance from The Star, Capital FM Kenya and wire reports