Somalia and Kenya in diplomatic row

The Somali government have recalled the country’s Ambassador to Kenya, Mohamed Ali Nur, for ‘consultations’ over the controversial operation ‘Uslama Watch’ as well as the much publicized arrest of a top diplomat of the Somali embassy last week.

Since the beginning of this month, reports indicate that more than 3,000 Somalis in Kenya have been arrested and about 200 deported.

However, the operation, reportedly aimed at eliminating illegal migrants, has been widely criticized for perpetuating human rights violations and discrimination.

The tipping point in the recent dispute seems to have been the arrest of the Consular General of the Somali Embassy to Kenya, Mr. Siyad Mohamud Shire.

Reports indicate that Kenyan anti-terrorism police stormed Mr. Shire’s house on Friday and took him into custody – despite the fact that he had identified himself. Mr. Shire was allegedly held for more than 5 hours before being released.

According to online sources, Kenyan security agencies had uncovered some links between the consular general and some radical groups.

After an extra-ordinary meeting of the Somali cabinet on Sunday, the Minister for Information, Mustafa Dhuhulow, revealed that the council “unanimously decided to order the returning of Somalia’s ambassador to Kenya…for discussions and consultation on the incident.”

The Speaker of the Somali National Assembly, Sheikh Osman Jawari, who described the incident as ‘unacceptable’, has revealed that the government would forward a letter to Kenyan authorities for an explanation on the issue.

He also noted that “Both actions, the arrest of the diplomat and entering his house without permission is a clear violation of international diplomatic immunity. Police action is despicable and completely can’t be tolerated.”

Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police of Kenya, David Kimaiyo, has denied knowledge of the arrest of Mr. Shire. Other top police officials have also refused to comment on the issue.

While censuring the arrests, the speaker of the Somali parliament also highlighted that the Somali government does not want the relations between both nations “to be degraded; but we want more explanation about the incident and similarly the unending crackdown targeted on Somali ethnic community in Kenya.”

 

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