Kenya has denied expelling the Somalia ambassador and recalling its envoy to Mogadishu over a simmering marine territorial dispute.
Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary (PS) Macharia Kamau clarified that Nairobi had only “summoned” Kenya’s envoy to Mogadishu and asked his Somali counterpart to leave for consultations on their side.
“We summoned ours for consultations and asked that theirs departs for consultations on their side so that we can resolve this matter with credible and correct information from both sides,” Mr Kamau tweeted.
Kenya and Somalia are locked in a dispute over some 62,000 square miles of the Indian Ocean, believed to be rich in oil and gas deposits.
The matter was presented before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the The Hague in the Netherlands in April 2014 after dialogue failed.
However, the Kenya government was angered by reports that Somalia had on February 7 set for auction oil and gas blocks falling within its maritime territory.
Consequently Nairobi asked the Somalia ambassador, Mr Mohamoud Ahmed Nur alias Tarzan to leave, while summoning its representative to Mogadishu, Lt-Gen (Rtd) Lucas Tumbo.
Mr Nur reportedly arrived back home on Sunday morning.
Holding a meeting
The media in Mogadishu reported that the ambassador touched down at the capital’s seafront airport together with Somalia’s First Lady Zeynab Moalim, who was from a visit to Kenya, and Foreign minister Ahmed Issa Awad.
Mr Awad was reportedly on transit in Nairobi, on his return from Sweden.
The Somalia media further reported that top Mogadishu officials, including President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre, were holding a meeting on the diplomatic tiff with Kenya.
Mogadishu was expected to issue a statement after the meeting.