Somalia Accuses Kenya of Air Strikes That Killed Civilians

Somalia accused Kenya of carrying out indiscriminate air strikes in El Adde and Hisa-u-gur in Gedo region in its Jubaland state on June 3, the latest escalation in simmering tensions between the two neighboring nations.

The attack “is the most recent example of Kenyan Defence Force operations resulting in the death and maiming of civilians, including women and children, that are increasingly becoming an unpleasant hallmark of the Kenyan Air Force’s standard operating procedure,” according to a statement from Somalia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Somalia will present its concerns to the African Union and begin the process of establishing a standing complaints commission at the pan-African organization, to hold to account perpetrators of “unlawful destruction of property” and achieve restitution for the victims, it said.

Kenya’s government spokesman Cyrus Oguna didn’t respond to calls seeking comment.

The two nations have had frosty relations for years and are currently locked in a dispute over the ownership of an area off their shared Indian Ocean coastline, that’s said to be rich in oil, gas and fish. The tension doesn’t bode well for the fight against al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based al-Qaeda-linked group that has crossed into Kenya and staged deadly attacks on civilians. Kenya invaded Somalia in 2011 after a spate of kidnappings by Islamist militants in its territory, but later joined a multinational African Union peacekeeping force.

Last month, Kenya suspended flights to and from Somalia for three months, jeopardizing a detente that Qatar brokered in a bid to ease diplomatic tension between the nations. Kenya’s ban excludes planes on special medical and United Nations humanitarian missions. The announcement came after Somalia’s aviation agency intercepted two Kenyan flights carrying khat, a mild narcotic stimulant. Farmers in Kenya have grown and exported the drug to Somalia for years.

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