Kenyatta to Somalia: Don’t dare spoil for war

President advises Northern neighbour to instead focus on managing its internal affairs

In Summary

• Somalia asked to focus on defeating terrorism and advance the cause of peace, security and stability in the region

• Kenya termed as baseless accusations by Somalia that Kenya is interfering with its internal affairs.

President Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta
Image: FILE

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday issued a stern warning to Somalia against what he termed as “violations of Kenya’s territorial integrity”

The President spoke moments after chairing a meeting of the National Security Council — Kenya’s top security organ.

Uhuru said that the Somali National Army had violated the country’s sovereignty by launching a heavy attack on the Jubaland regional government from Kenyan soil. He said the move was a provocation to Kenya. 


During the fighting between Jubaland and Somali forces, several Kenyan citizens were injured in Mandera and their properties destroyed as they fled their homes. 

“This action amounts to an unwarranted attack by foreign soldiers with the intention of provoking Kenya,” State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena said.

“In keeping with our long-standing and distinguished tradition in peacekeeping and peace-building in the region and beyond and in particular – in Somalia; Kenya acted with total restraint,” she added.

But the strongly-worded statement from Uhuru signalled that the diplomatic row between the neighbours was getting worse and military intervention was possible.

The warning came days after a secret weekend visit to Somalia by 11 Kenyan MPs.

The visit happened despite a diplomatic row over the maritime border and the whereabouts of former a Jubaland security minister Mogadishu believes is hiding in Kenya.


The MPs chartered a flight to Mogadishu on Saturday and met President Mohamed Farmaajo and his security chiefs.

There were claims that Somalia’s leadership lobbied the MPs to push Kenya to stop supporting President Ahmed Mohamed, also known as Madobe, in Jubaland.

Upon their return, the MPs said their trip was in the interest of regional peace and stability.


A western diplomat who is familiar with events in Mogadishu told the Star yesterday that President Farmaajo might seek to antagonise Kenya to boost his re-election chances.  The country will go to the polls later this year.

“Farmaajo is increasingly facing unpopularity and isolation ahead of elections and his decision to provoke Kenya is aimed at endearing him to the electorate.

“He is a playing a dangerous chess game of directing real or imagined hostilities against Kenya.

“He is a captive of the Somali Intelligence director Fahad Yasin who is calling the shots in Somalia,” said the diplomat who has worked in Mogadishu.

Yesterday, Kenya asked its Northern neighbour to focus on defeating terrorism and advance the cause of peace, security and stability in the region.  

Kenya is desirous to see that security resources in Somalia at both Federal and State level are used to defeat al Shabaab terrorists and stabilise the neighbouring country in order to enable her forces to take over national security responsibilities from AMISOM,” a statement from State House said.

Kenya termed as baseless accusations that it is interfering with Somalia's internal affairs.

“They are part of a growing and persistent pattern of ill intent to use Kenya as a scapegoat and a tool to justify challenges in Somalia for political reasons. Kenya will not accept to be used in that manner,” State House said.

Farmajo is increasingly facing unpopularity and isolation ahead of elections and his decision to provoke Kenya is aimed at endearing him to the electorate
Western diplomat 

Kenya asked Somalia to stop the smear campaign and commit the energy to deliver leadership and prosperity to its people.

Last month, both President Farmaajo and his top diplomat at the UN accused Kenya of destabilising their country.

In a speech to the UN Security Council, Somalia's United Nations envoy Abukar Dahir Osman accused Kenya of interfering in Somalia's internal affairs and violating the UN Charter by engaging in "anti-peace actions"

The decision to call the NSC means that Kenya is not taking those statements and developments at the border lightly.

The NSC is the supreme organ mandated by the Constitution to be responsible for the security of Kenya and her people.

NSC is expected to meet at least four times every financial year. However, the President may convene a special meeting of the council whenever necessary.

The council comprises the president, his deputy, the CSs for Defence,  Foreign Affairs and Internal security, the Attorney-General, the KDF chief, the Director-General of the National Intelligence Service and the Inspector-General of Police.

The council accused the Somali government of pursuing short term political expediency and creating a breakdown in the relations between the two countries.

It said al Shabaab militants remain the major existential threat to Somalia, Kenya and the Horn of Africa region.

Defeating al Shabaab and its international network should, therefore, remain the primary security focus of the Federal Government of Somalia as its core mandate,” the statement added.

Somalia National Army troops have been camping at Bula Hawa, a town neighbouring Mandera.

The troops engaged Jubaland Forces on Monday over a fugitive Jubaland minister Abdirashid Hassan Abdinur.

“The foreign soldiers were in flagrant breach and total disregard of international laws and conventions engaged in aggressive and belligerent activities by harassing and destroying properties of Kenyan citizens living in the border town of Mandera,”  Dena said. 


The council also deliberated on the press release issued by Somalia on the February 5 and the accusations by Somalia made by Ambassador Osman in New York on February 27. 

The council further noted that Kenya has paid a heavy price and continues to make notable investments to peace and security in Somalia, the region and beyond.

“For many years, Kenya has and continues to host hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees, many of who have sought refuge in Kenya and chosen Kenya as their home,” the statement said.

It added that Kenya is proud that the peace in Somalia has been realised through over 30 years of efforts with stakeholders and international partners.

Kenya joined calls by the United Nations and other regional and international partners in urging Somalia to “urgently and exhaustively seek broad political consensus and ensure that key security benchmarks for governance are achieved.”

The country said that these efforts are imperative in consolidating the gains made and ensuring that Somalia is on a path to peace, stability and prosperity. 

These cannot be achieved through the barrel of a gun, the statement said. 


(edited by O. Owino)

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star