Jubbaland deploys more troops in the border town hours after Farmajo, Uhuru agreed to ease tension

Kenya’s president and his Somali counterpart agreed to appoint joint committees to resolve recent tensions between the two nations, the Somalian presidency said on Thursday.

In a phone conversation, the two presidents “discussed a range of bilateral issues, underlining the significance of their joint cooperation in strengthening security along the borders and across the region,” the statement said..

They also exchanged views on strengthening the bilateral relations between the two nations and the citizens and “agreed to form a working committee involving Somalia and Kenya to further the vision of the two leaders in enhancing relations without delays,” it added.

The two presidents also “stressed the need to unite in countering insecurity and guard against all factors that could destabilize their joint efforts,” according to the statement.

The development move comes a day after Kenya accused Somalia of an “unwarranted attack” on the frontier town of Mandera during heavy fighting between government and regional forces.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Uhuru Kenyatta issued a stern warning to Somalia against what he termed as “violations of Kenya’s territorial integrity”

Uhuru said that the Somali National Army had violated the country’s sovereignty by launching a heavy attack on Mandera town on Kenya’s border with Somalia.

SITUATION IN MANDERA

Tension has remained high in Mandera town following a deadly confrontation between special troops of the Somali National Army (SNA) deployed to Gedo region to guard the border and Jubbaland forces loyal to Abdirashid Janaan, who reportedly fled prison in Mogadishu with the help of some officials in President Farmajo’s government.

Mandera leaders expressed their concern about the building tension in the town and called the government to intervene and have the fugitive minister removed.

In a statement shared on social media with an accompanying video, Mandera Governor Ali Roba claimed that the troops were moving freely inside the North-Eastern town.

The governor added that the fighting between Jubaland forces and FGS had worsened the situation in the town halting businesses with most shops, schools remained shut and learners were asked to go home.

“Jubaland security forces moving right inside Mandera Town on Bulla Jamhuria Road, near the central chief camp, by the Huduma Center.

“This is a major threat to the security of Kenyans in Mandera. Our government must move with speed to mitigate this situation or risk more loss of lives,” he shared.

In the video, two pick-up vehicles, two jungle green pick-ups are seen carrying uniformed men with two men manning the mounted rifles.

On Thursday, a contingent of Jubaland forces have been reported heading to Mandera via Wargadud in Mandera North, a move that could spark tension in the border town after three days of calmness.

Photos published by local residents showed heavily armed troops believed to be from Jubbaland maneuvering along the terrain, all dressed ready to engage their enemies.

Tension between Somalia and Kenya have soared in recent days, with both sides issuing strongly worded statements accusing each other of encroaching on border territory.

Somalia blames Kenya for hosting fugitive jubbaland security minister who was arrested by Mogadishu for “serious crimes” but fled from prison in January.

Last month, Somalia issued a statement requesting the Government of Kenya to assist with the arrest and extradition of the fugitive minister who is wanted for several serious crimes including international human rights violation, massacre of innocent civilians and illegally escaping government custody.

Somalia claims that Kenya is accommodating and protecting the fugitive security minister despite their warning one month ago.

Kenya and Somalia have been on the verge of a diplomatic maritime row over a disputed 62,000-square-mile (160,580-square-kilometer) oil and gas-rich area in the Indian Ocean in the shape of a triangle that both nations claim.

SBC News Desk

 44 total views,  1 views today