Somalia: Kenya-Somalia Relations - Border Dispute Enters High Gear

After several fruitless attempts to seek a peaceful solution, both countries have gone back to the battle field.

Heavy fighting is currently going on at the Kenya-Somalia borders following the killing of several Somalian civilians by Kenya forces. According to RFI, the killing occurred on Saturday, September 26, 2020 when Kenya soldiers opened fire on peaceful Somalian demonstrators who were denouncing violence and demanding their departure from their territory.

The incident which took place in the town of Bulo Hawo in western Somalia is not the first of its kind between both countries as Somalians have often accused Kenyan armed forces of carrying out extrajudicial executions. An accusation Kenya authorities refused saying their counter terrorism police in the borders are there to track down suspected members of the Shebab group. BBC reports that though for now it is difficult to say how many people have already lost their lives on both sides, hundreds of civilians have so far being displaced.

The latest incident notwithstanding, Mogadishu authorities have in recent weeks not only accused Nairobi of meddling in its internal affairs, including the backing of Jubaland President Ahmed Madobe, a staunch opponent of Samali's Prsident Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmaajo", but have put up a strong resistance against Kenya's claim of a maritime territory rich in hydrocarbon and minerals. For nearly a decade, the two countries have been locked in a long-running dispute over sovereignty of an area in the Indian Ocean. Kenya has argued the sea border should be drawn parallel to the line of latitude, while Somalia saying it should be extended in the same direction as its land border.

Because the two countries have not being able to settle the matter out of court despite several years of mediation and direct phone calls between the two heads of state, they in 2014 referred the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is now the ultimate arbiter. The international court is expected to rule on the maritime dispute even though back home many Kenyans are already calling on their government to withdraw their representatives at The Hague.

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