Foreign Affairs CS Mutua Denies Plans To Establish Embassy In Somaliland Capital Hargeisa

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has denied reports that Kenya’s Liaison Office in Hargeisa will be upgraded to an embassy.

    Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua issued the clarification on Friday, following reports that Kenya would establish an embassy in Somaliland, a Somalian breakaway territory.

    “I wish to clarify that Kenya does not have any plans to set up an embassy in Hargeisa, as has been erroneously reported in some established and social media,” he tweeted.

    The listing of Kenya’s Liaison Office in Hargeisa among the country’s sixty-six foreign missions in an Executive Order issued by President William Ruto on Monday, January 9, fueled reports of Hargeisa’s elevation.

    Somaliland has been working hard to establish strong ties with countries in the region, including Kenya, which established a Liaison Office in September 2021 and deployed four officers.

    When Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi visited Kenya in December 2020 and met with then-President Uhuru Kenyatta, Somalia issued a protest note, cutting ties with Kenya.

    Somalia, a staunch opponent of Somaliland’s bid for independence, accused Kenya of meddling in its affairs.

    Prior to the December 2020 escalation, Kenya’s National Security Council (NSC) accused the Somalia National Army (SNA) in March 2020 of breaching its border in the northeast and harassing citizens in the border town of Mandera.

    According to the NSC, Somalia’s actions amounted to “an unwarranted attack by foreign soldiers with the intent of provoking Kenya.”

    The SNA is said to have crossed the border during a day-long battle with forces from Jubaland, a regional state that Somali considers to be equal to Somaliland.

    During the ensuing gunfight, approximately 30 Jubaland troops were reportedly shielded within security installations in Mandera town.

    Kenya and Somalia’s diplomatic relations have since been normalised.