Tweet on Somaliland officials visit to Nairobi fuels diplomatic spat

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Kenyan Ambassador to Somalia Lucas Tumbo. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG
Kenyan Ambassador to Somalia Lucas Tumbo. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG
By: BusinessDailyAfrica
Differences between Kenya and Somalia have escalated as Mogadishu wrote a protest letter to Nairobi for hosting officials of the breakaway Somaliland.

Somalia’s Foreign Affair’s ministry summoned Kenya’s Ambassador to Somalia Lucas Tumbo and handed him the undisclosed protest notice.

The protest was triggered by a June 27 tweet from Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau, about a meeting with his Somaliland counterpart. Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 after that country descended into civil war following the collapse of Dictator Siad Barre’s regime.

Though not internationally recognised, Somaliland has a working political system, government institutions, a police force and its own currency.

“We consider this tweet an affront to Somali sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity as well as harmful to the relationship between Somalia and Kenya,” Somalia said in a statement yesterday.

Somaliland has escaped much of the chaos and violence that plague Somalia.

Somaliland was a British protectorate until 1960, while Somalia was under Italian colonial rule. Both then formed a united Somali republic after independence. But while Somaliland’s leaders think that history gives them every right to go it alone again, the African Union supports a united Somalia.

A meeting between Kenya and Somaliland top officials came amid a maritime border row between Nairobi and Mogadishu.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague is considering a claim on their maritime border brought by Somalia in 2014 after talks the 100,000-square kilometre stretch of the sea broke down.

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