Attack in Somalia’s Gedo Region Escalates Tensions with Kenya

An attack in Somalia’s Gedo region on Sunday night was by militia trained and armed by Kenya’s government, Somalia’s Information Ministry said amid deteriorating diplomatic relations between the neighbors.

In recent months, the two nations have recalled envoys over varying disputes including Kenya’s decision to establish a consulate in the breakaway region known as Somaliland and the alleged auction by Somalia of four offshore oil blocks in a dispute maritime area. The Horn of Africa nation has also accused Kenya of interfering in the politics of Jubbaland, a semi-autonomous state.

“The Federal Government of Somalia confirms that Kenyan-armed militia entered the country last night and attacked Gedo region, particularly Beled Hawo town,” the ministry said in a statement emailed on Monday. “We strongly condemn this incursion that was organized inside Kenya, which is against the peace of the Horn of Africa region.”

Kenya’s Foreign Ministry said in a diplomatic note to the African Union Commission on Monday that it was concerned about the violence because of its proximity to the border. The fighting, which has been on and off since the start of 2020, was between Somalia’s national troops and Jubbaland state forces, it said.

“If the fighting continues unabated, the situation could further destabilize the region, complicate the security situation and reverse gains made in the fight against terrorism,” according to the statement.

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