Somalia yesterday recalled its ambassador to Kenya to protest the arrest of a senior embassy official in Nairobi in the ongoing swoop targeting illegal immigrants and some refugees. It termed a raid on its diplomatic mission as "barbaric, unacceptable and intolerable".
The consular to Kenya, Siyad Mahmoud Shire, was arrested in his Hurlingham home on Friday during a swoop targeting illegal immigrants and taken to the Kilimani police station where he was held for several hours.
He was later released following the intervention of the Somalia ambassador to Kenya Mohamed Ali Nur. Also arrested was a former Mogadishu town administrator who is said to be in detention. Police IG David Kimaiyo yesterday declined to comment on the arrest. We could not reach Foreign Affairs officials.
Speaker of the Somali parliament Mohamed Osman Jawaari and minister for Information Mustafa Dhuhulow said the arrest of the senior mission staff even after he identified himself to the police was an 'unwanted' move and against international diplomatic protocols.
"It is an irregular act and absolutely against international diplomatic rules that security forces raided the home of such high profile diplomat," said the speaker yesterday.
Somalia yesterday recalled ambassador Nur following the incident. The envoy was interviewed by a TV station on arrival in Mogadishu yesterday where he said he was awaiting further instructions from the country's ministry of foreign affairs.
"Cabinet of Ministers in today's extra-ordinary meeting have unanimously decided to order the returning of Somalia's ambassador to Kenya Mohamed Ali Noor for discussion and consultation on the incident," Minister Dhuhulow said. He asked the Kenyan Foreign Ministry to 'explain on why such brutal acts against diplomats are happening in Kenya'.
"Both actions, the arrest of the diplomat and entering his house without permission is a clear violation of international diplomatic immunity," Inspector General of police David Kimaiyo yesterday denied knowledge of the arrest. "I am not aware of the arrest. Thank you," relied Kimaiyo to a short message, the Star sent him.
However, the Nairobi police boss Benson Kibue said he was aware of the arrest, but said he could not comment as the matter is being handled at a 'higher level'. He said the office of the IG is best placed to comment about the issue, which the Somalia government termed as a 'serious diplomatic insult'.
"We will not accept such intolerable attacks by Kenyan security on our diplomatic mission. I urge the cabinet to send an urgent complaint letter to Kenya and ask why their forces have done such barbaric raid and arrest of the Somali consular", speaker Jawaari said.
"We don't want to play the bilateral relations between the two countries, but we are telling Kenya that Somali government will not accept the continuation of such arrests against our people" the speaker said in the terse statement.
The operation now in its fourth week has been extended to Nairobi's posh estates . Hundreds of Somalis without valid documents have already been deported to Somalia.