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Kenya recalls envoy, expels Somali ambassador

Nairobi accuses Mogadishu of auctioning oil and gas blocks in “its territory”.

Kenyan Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Somalia Lt-Gen (Rtd) Lucas Tumbo attends a media briefing in Nairobi on February 16, 2019 after he was summoned back to Nairobi for consultations. /COURTESY

Kenya has recalled its ambassador in Mogadishu over alleged auctioning of oil and gas blocks in disputed territorial waters of the Indian Ocean.

At the same time Nairobi has also ordered Somali ambassador to Kenya Mohamoud Ahmed Nur to leave the country.

In a statement read by Kenya’s Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau, the auction took place on February 7, 2019 in London.

Mr Kamau said Kenya’s ambassador Lt-Gen (Rtd) Lucas Tumbo was summoned back to Nairobi for urgent consultations.

“This unparalleled affront and illegal grab at the resources of Kenya will not go unanswered and is tantamount to an act of aggression against the people of Kenya and their resources.

“This outrageous and provocative auction deserves and will be met with a unanimous and resounding rejection by all Kenyans as well as all people of goodwill who believe in the maintenance of international law and order and the peaceful and legal resolution of disputes,” he said.


Kenya and Somalia are fighting a territorial dispute case at the International Court of Justice.

Somalia argues that the maritime border between the two countries should extend diagonally into the sea and not eastwards as it is today.

But Kenya has argued that this may also affect its sea border with Tanzania and has sought international intervention to resolve the boundary dispute with Somali.

“Kenya through multiple channels including direct diplomatic demarches at the highest of levels has sought to find an amicable and peaceful resolution of the maritime boundary and has severally and emphatically stated its unequivocal claim of the maritime area that is known to be historically Kenya.”

“Kenya has willingfully and procedurally enjoined itself to the international processes of international boundary disputes including but not limited to bilateral negotiations and subservience of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) where this matter of the Kenya/Somali boundary currently rests,” the statement read.

The area in the Kenya-Somalia maritime border dispute is about 100,000km2 forming a triangle east of the Kenya coast./COURTESY

Seismic surveys conducted by two British companies, Soma Oil & Gas and Spectrum Geo, suggest that Somalia has promising oil reserves off its Indian Ocean coast. Total offshore deposits could be as high as 100 billion barrels.

Kenya hosts over four hundred thousand Somali refugees and asylum seekers to Kenya.



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