Somalia rejects IGAD report on border crisis, says based on Kenya sources

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia has dismissed a report compiled by a team of experts from Djibouti which went for a fact-finding mission to establish a series of allegations raised by Mogadishu on alleged interference by Kenya in Jubaland, terming it "baseless and biased".

Osman Abukar Dubbe, who is the minister of information in Somalia, said the report by Djibouti fact-finding team comes as a “shock” to the Somali government, adding that the team was unfair since it "failed" to visit Somalia's side of the border in Jubaland.

The report is damaging the brotherhood between Djibouti and Somalia, Dubbe said while urging the team to withdraw the report and apologize. But despite the protests from Mogadishu, neither Djibouti nor IGAD have come out to give a rebuttal based on various issues raised by Somalia.

But across the border, Kenya has termed the report "factual and timely" in a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, adding that Somalia's claims of interference in Jubaland were "unfounded and unfortunate". The decision by Mogadishu to cut diplomatic ties based on the claims, it added, "was unnecessary and should be reviewed".

Somalia under the leadership of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo raised various complaints against Kenya which it asked the IGAD to investigate, thus leading to the formation of the fact-finding team that was picked by President Ismael Omar Guelleh of Djibouti.

Inside the report, the team said it did not find "sufficient" evidence that the Kenyan Defense Forces [KDF] were abandoning their various jurisdictions in AMISOM zones this endangering lives of citizens.

The KDF team occupies Sectors II and VI but FGS had said the zones were being exposed by the team.

Also, the team absolved Kenya of allegedly recognizing the regional government of Ahmed Islam Mohamed Madobe, who was yet to be recognized as Jubaland President by Mogadishu. However, the team noted that Kenya as a security stakeholder in Somalia has a right to work with all partners in the fight against Al-Shabaab.

On illegal importation of sugar, the team also dismissed the claims as "unfounded", adding that no evidence was found to back it up. For years, the KDF team has been accused of facilitating the illegal sugar and charcoal trade in the Horn of Africa nation.

The team also vindicated Kenya of allegedly hosting Jubaland security minister Abdirashid Janan, and reports that Jubaland troops were being trained in Kenya. The claims were the basis of Monday's clashes between the Jubaland security forces and the Somali National Army [SNA].

Finally, the team, however, noted that Kenya has been violating the Somali airspace by flying aircraft without permission. The report comes just a day after African Union urged the two countries to exercise restraint and solve their differences amicably.

GAROWE ONLINE

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