The Federal Government of Somalia has introduced strict guidelines for Kenyans traveling to the country as the relationship between the two nations continues to deteriorate.
In a notice seen by Kahawa Tungu, all Kenyan passport holders travelling to the territory of the Federal Republic of Somalia will from December 13 be required to obtain visas from Somali embassies as opposed to getting them on arrival in Mogadishu.
The country’s Immigration and Naturalization Directorate stated that the move is “in line with the Federal government’s policy of ensuring security, improving migration management and reducing the risks of COVID-19 Infections”.
Further, diplomatic passport holders will be required to have an approval from the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Federal Government.
“Any traveler with Kenyan passport that does not adhere to the above policy will be denied entry, ” the notice dated December 7 reads in part.
The latest comes barely a week after the Somalia government accused Kenya of plotting to destabilise the nation as it prepares for elections.
Speaking to Somali National TV, Information Minister Osman Abukar Dubbe accused Kenya of planning to take its water and land in what he said was an “inappropriate daydream”.
“We respect Kenya, appreciate our neighbourliness and mutual interest. On our side, we always uphold these principles. However, Kenya seems not to be interested in that but rather wants to pursue an inappropriate daydream and is a state focused on ambitions to pursue taking the Somali land and waters,” he said.
The minister also rebuked Kenya for interfering in its political process by holding meetings with opposition leaders in Nairobi.
He was speaking days after Somalia expelled Kenya’s ambassador to Somalia Lucas Tumbo over alleged poll interference.
In a statement on November 29, Somalia also recalled its ambassador from Nairobi.
“The Federal Government of Somalia notes the Kenyan government’s attempt to infringe upon the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia and hereby expresses its deep regret with the Kenyan government’s continuous interferences in the internal and political affairs of Somalia,” the statement read in part.
“Therefore, the Federal Government of Somalia summons its Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya and instructs the Ambassador of the Republic of Kenya to Somalia to depart to Kenya for consultations.”
Kenya has been backing of Jubaland President Ahmed Madobe, a staunch opponent of Samali’s President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmaajo”.
Kenya and Somalia have also been fighting over a maritime territory rich in hydrocarbon and minerals.
Kenya argues that the sea border should be drawn parallel to the line of latitude, while Somalia says it should be extended in the same direction as its land border.
In 2014, the matter was referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is now the ultimate arbiter.