Experts: Kenya-Somalia maritime dispute fuelled by Western interest

The maritime dispute between Kenya and Somalia is fuelled by western interest and the impending next year elections.

The fued is also fuelled by Villa Somalia’s alleged interference in Jubbaland regional polls. Kenya considers Jubbaland president Ahmed Islam Madoobe an ally, particularly the fight against insurgency.

Kenya is dealing with Al Shabab militant group which has launched several terror attack in Nairobi city.

“The ability to project sea power rises with corresponding ability to monopolise or deny access to critical resources to other countries. Such resources become ‘strategic’ and among them are oil and gas that powerful naval countries try to deny others,” Prof Munene, a lecturer of International Relations at USIU said.

Kenya is a victim of extra-continental effort to manipulate ‘strategic’ resources in terms of supply, price, and access,” he added.

The government of Somalia and Spectrum Geo, the company that hosted the February 7 Somalia Oil Conference in London, and conducted a 2D offshore seismic survey, have dismissed Kenya’s claims that oil blocks were auctioned.

Spectrum insists that no seismic data was acquired in the area that is the subject of maritime delimitation case at the ICJ, and whose hearing could begin any time now.

Kenya however maintains that Somalia auctioned some of the offshore oil blocks within the disputed 100,000 square kilometres.

Besides the British, other companies interested in the offshore resources, including fishing, are Dutch, French, Norwegian, Canadian, Chinese and Japanese.

The maritime border dispute has simmered over time, culminating in Somalia’s filing of a suit at the ICJ in 2014 accusing Kenya of encroaching on its 100,000-square-kilometre marine territory with potential oil and gas deposits in the Indian Ocean.