CONFLICT IN GEDO REGION, SOMALIA AND IMPACT ON KENYA

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Government of Kenya Spokesperson Colonel (Retired) Cyrus Oguna today gave a statement at the government Media Centre, Nairobi, on Kenya Government’s position on the unfolding events in Somalia that ultimately climaxed to a violent confrontation on Kenya –Somalia border.

In the statement on behalf of the government of Kenya, Oguna expressed concern about these events and the military skirmishes between forces believed to be the Somali National Army and Jubaland security forces

The recurrent confrontations between these forces, not only cause fear and panic amongst our people at the border town of Mandera, but also do lead to the displacement of civilians from Gedo region in Somalia.

He noted that the displaced families are often forced to flee into Kenya for safety and asylum, further overstretching the capacity of our facilities. The events being witnessed around Mandera have their genesis on domestic political activities in Somalia, with every effort being made to give them an external angle

“Kenya will not accept to be drawn into internal politics of Somalia. We are calling on Somali leadership to desist from dragging Kenya into their domestic issues,” he added.

Peace will remain a top priority for Kenya, therefore all leaders in Somalia are urged to create an environment that will facilitate the resolution of the conflict through dialogue for this is critical in fostering a united front in countering AlShabaab militants who have, for a long time, destabilized peace and security in Somalia and the region, that’s why kenyan troops, operating under the auspices of the African Union (AU), continue to be part and parcel of the regional peace-keeping effort for Somalia.

Oguna denied the allegations by Somalia that Kenya is sponsoring and harbouring militia with the objective of destabilizing Somalia are not based on any merit.

He reminded Somalia of how Somalis, have found refuge in Kenya for more than two decades where they continue to enjoy almost equal privileges as Kenyans.

He noted trhat Kenya and Somalia have been business partners since time immemorial, a relationship that Kenya intends to maintain.

The fact-finding Commission constituted by IGAD Heads of State and Governments Summit and led by the Head of State of Djibouti, His Excellency Ismail Omar Guelleh, visited Kenya to verify accusations against Kenya by Somalia that led to the expulsion of Kenya’s diplomats from Mogadishu.

The Commission was provided with the necessary goodwill and unfettered access to all the areas it needed to visit, including being flown to locations where Somalia had claimed that militias were being harboured and trained. The militia, allegedly being harboured and trained on Kenyan soil were actually in Somalia.

It is important to note that, in its report, the Commission concluded that: KDF is validly in Somalia, just like any other regional military that is operating within the AU mandate and accusations of KDF engaging in illegal sugar and charcoal trade is unjustified. Confirming an earlier investigation by the UN, with the same finding.

He reiterated that Kenya has not recognized Jubaland as a Sovereign State, and that any visits to that region by certain Kenyan politicians, do not amount to recognition; and The Fact Finding Commission was of the considered opinion that the accusations leveled against Kenya by Somalia were false, malicious, and with no weight to justify severing diplomatic relations.

Colonel Oguna dismissed Somalia accusations as diversionary, intended to redirect attention of the Somali people away from real issues on the ground.

Kenya is a peace-loving people, in a country governed by the rule of law and guided by the principle of non-interference and therefore will not meddle in the internal affairs of any country, and we equally expect reciprocity.

In conclusion, Oguna stated that Kenya will continue to advocate for peace and stability in the region, thus calling for total cessation of hostilities in Somalia in order to give peace a chance.

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