Strained Kenya-Somalia relations worsen as Somalia now laments Airspace violation

United Nation Aircrafts at Kismayo Airport | PHOTO COURTESY

It seems like no end is in sight for the two neighboring brothers as a new diplomatic row is brewing in Mogadishu.

A plane ferrying Somali ministers and politicians allegedly touched down in Kismayu, instead of making its way to Mogadishu Airport first.

The Fokker 70 jet belonging to Jubba Airways, decided to land in Kismayo after its hour-long flight from Nairobi. This according to the Somali government, was a violation of Somalia’s airspace regulations, and they are filing a complaint to the UN agency International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), against Kenya.

The ministers and politicians were headed for a swearing-in of Jubbaland’s new leader, Ahmed Madobe. Mogadishu rejected the elections but Nairobi upheld Madobe’s victory.

Since then, the Somalia government based in Mogadishu directed that all flights into Somalia to dock at Mogadishu Airport first, a move alleged to have been drafted to frustrate Ahmed Madobe’s swearing-in ceremony.

Somalia’s airspace had since 1994, been controlled by Kenya up until 2016 when AMISOM peacekeeping forces managed to help Somalia’s government regain its ground.

This incident comes in the backdrop of a case involving Kenya’s maritime territory that has been in dispute with Somalia, a case that is before the International Court of Justice.