Kenya has threatened to use force if Somali citizens continued to obstruct or destroy the fence it is building along the two countries’ border.
“Any continued obstruction or destruction of the fence shall be responded to forcefully,” stated the letter signed by Kenya’s foreign ministry and delivered by Kenya’s mission in Mogadishu to Somalia’s ministry of foreign affairs on May 25.
In the letter, Kenya accuses Somalia of “continuously” obstructing the construction of the fence and using women and children to cause harm to security personnel and construction teams.
“Kenya is assessing the cost of damage caused by Somali citizens with a view of demanding compensation,” stated the two-page letter.
In the letter, Kenya accuses Somalia of not reciprocating its goodwill.
“When Kenya suspended the construction of the fence for two weeks in 2017, it exhibited the highest level of patience, good faith, friendship and good neighbourliness.
“It is Kenya’s expectation that Somalia will reciprocate by taking appropriate action to ensure that Kenya’s border security is not obstructed or in any way inhibited by the actions of its citizens,” stated the letter.
Kenya, however, said it was ready and committed to undertaking what it described as “a boundary reaffirmation exercise” at the earliest opportunity as long as the matter was communicated through proper diplomatic channels.
Somalia has, however, denied that it is frustrating Kenya’s efforts to secure its border.
“The government of Somalia categorically rejects the allegation that it is in any way involved in the alleged conduct described in the aforementioned Note Verbale,” said Somalia in response to Kenya’s letter.
“The government of Somalia is, moreover, not aware of any and does not have any evidence of any damage caused by its citizens to the wall/fence. Should the Government of Kenya wish to share relevant information with the government of Somalia, the latter would be happy to give it appropriate consideration,” wrote Somalia.
Somalia proposed the formation of a technical and legal working group to iron out any differences between the two countries.
On the maritime border dispute that is currently pending before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Somalia said it would respect Kenya’s borders and expected the same from Kenya.
“The government of Somalia assures the Government of Kenya of its respect for the territorial integrity of the Republic of Kenya and trusts that the Government of Kenya equally respects the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Somalia,” wrote Somalia in a letter dated May 29.
Between the lines, the letters spoke volumes of a diplomatic tussle between the two neighbours.