Use diplomacy to end Kenya-Somalia maritime border row, say leaders

A section of Garissa leaders wants the maritime boundary row between Kenya and Somalia resolved diplomatically.

The leaders, among them county assembly Majority leader Mohamed Gabow, Kenya Livestock Marketing Council chair Dubat Amey and Garissa county peace secretary Hassan Osman, said separately on Monday that the case at the International Criminal Justice court should be withdrawn to pave the way for negotiations.

The case at The Hague is over the boundary in the Indian Ocean. For Kenya, the boundary lies parallel to the line of latitude but Somalia wants the boundary extended to the southeast as an extension of the land border.

In 2009, both countries agreed that the United Nations commission in charge of mediating border disputes should determine the borderline, the issue has ended up at the ICJ.

Gabow said Kenya and Somalia have had a long-standing relationship even after Somalia degenerated into civil war following the ouster of Siad Barre as president.

“Kenya who stood with Somalia to the extent of hosting over one million refugees for over two decades. The border dispute that can be resolved amicably should not be allowed to bring bad blood between the two countries,” Gabow said.

He said there is growing tension between the citizens of the two countries especially in Northeastern which directly borders war-torn Somalia.

Amey urged President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Somalia counterpart Mohamed Farmajo to initiate talks and have the matter resolved to foster good relations.

“If we allow the ICJ to resolve the matter, it would most likely escalate the matter and may even result in war with both countries bound to incur heavy losses,” Amey said.

He added, “I can see the hand of foreign influence in this matter because of the rich oil and gas that they want to exploit in the Somali coastline.”

Osman said residents were keenly following the matter and hoped that reason will prevail.