Kenya was directly behind attack on the border town, Somalia insists
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia insists that Kenya is directly behind the ongoing skirmishes in Beled-Hawo, a town near her border with Kenya, claiming that the fighters who engaged in a deadly gunfight with the Somali troops were equipped by Kenya inside its soil.
Over 11 civilians, including 8 children were killed, among them five from the same family, as the Jubaland state forces battled the SNA troops stationed in the border town, which is located in the fragile Gedo region of Somalia.
In a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Somalia insisted that the fighters were armed by Kenya, adding that the army fought against them before arresting hundreds of them who are now in the custody of the country's security forces.
"The federal government of Somalia can confirm illegal militia armed by Kenya crossed over the border and attacked Gedo. In particular, Baled-Hawo district. Our forces acted swiftly and diffused the threat," stated the statement.
"The federal government of Somalia condemns this illegal aggression planned and orchestrated in Kenya. These actions are an affront to peaceful coexistence and go international norms of mutual respect, territorial sovereignty, and integrity," it added.
But Kenya's Foreign Affairs which expressed concern over the renewed fighting in the border town of Beled Hawo in the northern part of the Gedo region, in southern Somalia, said it has sent a diplomatic note to the chairperson of the African Union Commission, calling for restraint.
"In the note, Kenya called for an immediate cessation of the hostilities and a rapid return to normalcy, consistent with the AU's calls and inspirations of 'Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020' efforts," the ministry said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
Kenya said its main concern is that the renewed fighting causes large-scale displacement of civilians inside Somalia and drives large numbers of refugees and asylum-seekers into Kenya, worsening the already dire humanitarian situation in Somalia and in refugee camps in Kenya.
"Kenya is concerned that if the fighting continues unabated, the situation could further destabilize the region, complicate the security situation and reverse gains made in the fight against terrorism," the statement said.