Kenyan diplomats in Somalia given 7 days to leave as Mogadishu cuts diplomatic ties with Kenya

Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta with Somaliland President Muse Bihi. [Photo: State House Kenya]

Kenya’s diplomatic ties with Somalia are on the rocks, a fact that played out in the public following a State House visit by breakaway Somaliland President Muse Bihi.

Bihi arrived in the country on Sunday.

Hours after his visit to Kenya, state-managed broadcaster SNTV featured Somalia Minister of Information Osman Abukar Dubbe announcing “the cutting of ties with Kenya”.

Dubbe said Mogadishu is has withdrawn all its envoys in Kenya and issued a seven-day ultimatum for all Kenyan diplomats in Somalia to leave.

‘’Somalia wants all its diplomats to go back to Mogadishu and Kenyan diplomats have 7 days to leave the country,’’ Dubbe stated.

He said that Kenya has been interfering with Somalia’s territorial and diplomatic sovereignty and the only way to put an end to it is permanently cutting ties with Kenya.

Hours after Bihi led a delegation to State House, Mogadishu sent out a tweet condemning Somaliland for associating with Kenya.

This sparked a war of words between Mogadishu and Hargeisa (Somaliland capital) but Mogadishu later pulled down the tweet.

A week ago, the Federal Republic of Somalia issued a raft of strict immigration measures for Kenyans.

Now Kenyan passport holders will be required to seek visas from the Somali Embassy in Nairobi or any other around the world as long as they are travelling to Mogadishu.

Initially, the visas were issued in Mogadishu after arrival.

Somalia’s Immigration and Naturalization Directorate stated that this will take effect on December 13.

“Any traveller with Kenyan passport that does not adhere to the above policy will be denied entry,” the notice read in part adding this measure was taken in line with the government’s policy to better immigration and bring down the risk of COVID-19.

For Kenyans who hold diplomatic passports, they will be required to have an approval from the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Federal Government.

This comes barely a month after Kenyan Ambassador to Somalia Lt. General (Rtd) Lucas Tumbo was asked to leave over alleged meddling with upcoming polls in the country.