IGAD panel on Somalia-Kenya border tension held talks with FGS

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - A fact-finding IGAD team that had been deployed to Somalia's border with Kenya in a fact-finding mission has arrived in Mogadishu on Saturday after nearly a month of investigating the crisis, which triggered a diplomatic spat between the two nations.

Somalia had announced cutting ties with Kenya after accusing Nairobi of meddling in her internal politics "for far too long" in a move that resulted in the withdrawal of her envoys from Kenya, further causing jitters from opposition politicians within the country.

At Gedo, FGS claimed, Kenya was equipping clan militia who are reportedly fighting against the Somali National Army, a claim which Kenya dismissed as "imaginations". Nairobi insisted that her relationship with Somalia remained cordial despite the chaos.

But IGAD, which held an extraordinary meeting in Djibouti, picked a team of independent observers who were supposed to investigate the matter and report back for further actions. It's Somalia that had requested investigations over alleged encroachment by Kenya in her territories.

The State Minister for the Office of the Prime Minister of the Federal Government of Somalia Abdihakin Hassan Ashkir on Sunday met with the IGAD fact-finding mission that arrived in the country after the trip to Gedo. It's not clear if the team visited Nairobi.

The commission consisting of the Djiboutian ambassadors to Somalia and Kenya, Aden Hassan Aden and Yasin Elmi Bouh, as well as four Djiboutian military officers on the developments in the situation prevailing in the Horn of Africa, especially the border strip between Somalia and Kenya in light of the IGAD policy aimed at Finding facts and putting an end to blatant interventions, igniting discord and inciting violence by supporting and arming an armed front opposed to peace and stability.

The panel has been formed on Dec 20 during the IGAD summit after FGS accused Kenya of arming militia in Mandera to attack SNA forces in Balad Hawo.

Reports indicate that tensions still remain high between the two nations especially in Mandera, a move which observers say could affect the fight against Al-Shabaab militants in Jubaland. Kenya has been a close ally of Jubaland state, a move which irked the federal government.

Kenya has close to 3,500 troops who serve in AMISOM and the tension between Nairobi and Mogadishu, IGAD argued, could compromise security in the Horn of Africa. Somalia is expected to hold elections in the coming weeks despite the current impasse.

GAROWE ONLINE

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