Kenya-Somalia tensions rise over maritime dispute

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Diplomatic relations between Kenya and Somalia are becoming strained over a long-running maritime border dispute.

Kenya has accused Somalia of attempting to sell oil and gas blocks in the disputed area, which is yet to be assigned to either country by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). However, the Somali government insists it has no plans to auction any blocks until a ruling has been reached by the Hague-based court.

Kenya recalls Mogadishu ambassador

Kenya on recalled its Ambassador to Mogadishu, Luca Tumbo, back to Nairobi for “urgent consultations” on Saturday. The East African nation says the reason for the withdrawal was the decision of Somalia’s government to “auction off” oil and gas blocks in the disputed area of maritime territory, off the shared cost between the two countries.

Kenya has also instructed Somalia’s ambassador to leave Nairobi.

Somalia responded by issuing a statement on Sunday evening, insisting it has not offered abt blocks in the disputed area to external bidders and promised not to do so before a court ruling has assigned the territory in question.

The Kenya-Somalia maritime boundary dispute has been before the ICJ since Somalia filed a complaint in August 2014. An area estimated to be 100,000 square kilometres, which is believed to contain large oil and gas deposits.

Featured image: By Aquintero82 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40427144

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.