Somalia and Kenya agree to ease border tensions

Kenya’s president and his Somali counterpart agreed to appoint joint committees to resolve recent tensions between the two nations, the Somalian presidency said on Thursday.

In a phone conversation, Uhuru Kenyatta and Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo “discussed a range of bilateral issues, underlining the significance of their joint cooperation in strengthening security along the borders and across the region,” the statement said.

They also exchanged views on strengthening the bilateral relations between the two nations and the citizens and “agreed to form a working committee involving Somalia and Kenya to further the vision of the two leaders in enhancing relations without delays,” it added.

The two presidents also “stressed the need to unite in countering insecurity and guard against all factors that could destabilize their joint efforts,” according to the statement.

The committees’ mission will be to treat a number of issues, including border security which led to tensions between Nairobi and Mogadishu on Monday, after armed clashes between Somalia’s so-called Jubbaland forces and the troops Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) which Nairobi said spread to neighboring Kenya’s Mandera town, according to an earlier report by Kenya’s the Daily Nation newspaper.

On Wednesday, the Kenyan presidency said that Somali “soldiers in flagrant breach and total disregard of international laws and conventions engaged in aggressive and belligerent activities by harassing and destroying properties of Kenyan citizens living in the border town of Mandera.”

The Jubbaland forces is a militia loyal to Abdirashid Janan, fugitive former Somali security minister in Jubaland state.

Last week, Somalia issued a warning accusing Kenya of interfering in its internal affairs, including encroachment in the border areas between the two countries.

It called on its neighbor Kenya to “halt its ongoing violations” of Somalia’s sovereignty.

Kenya and Somalia have been on the verge of a diplomatic maritime row over a disputed 62,000-square-mile (160,580-square-kilometer) oil and gas-rich area in the Indian Ocean in the shape of a triangle that both nations claim.