The Somali government has expelled Kenya’s Ambassador in Mogadishu Lt. General (Rtd) Lucas Tumbo citing interference in the upcoming elections.
Somalia further recalled its Ambassador to Kenya Ahmed Nuur Tarzan for what it termed as “consultations.”
Somalia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in a statement accused Kenya of meddling in the country’s internal and political affairs.
“The Federal Government of Somalia notes the Kenyan Government’s attempt to infringe upon the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia and hereby express its deepest regret with the Kenyan Government’s continuous interferences in the internal and political affairs of Somalia,” the ministry stated.
The ministry alleged that Kenya was trying to influence the regional President of Jubaland Axmed Maxamed Islaan to renege on the election agreement reached in September in Mogadishu in order to pursue its political and economic interests in Somalia.
Somalia argues that Kenya’s actions go against the internationally recognized diplomatic relations enjoyed by sovereign states.
Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Amb. Macharia Kamau expressed regret in Somalia’s decision to expel Tumbo, saying the government will respond through appropriate channels.
“This unexpected and unwarranted behavior of Somalia leadership is something that requires some digesting before we can speak to it. We will respond officially through the appropriate channels soon,” Macharia said.
This is the latest diplomatic row pitting the two East African nations after the Indian Ocean maritime dispute.
At the center of the dispute between Kenya and Somalia is 100,000 square kilometers in the Indian Ocean reported to be rich in gas and oil deposits.
Somalia moved to The Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) after talks between the two countries over who owns the area broke down.