Somalia, Kenya agree to ease tensions amid troop build-up along border

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo today spoke on the phone with his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, during which the two leaders discussed ways to ease growing tensions between the two countries on the border towns of Bula Hawo and Mandera.

“In a telephone call, the president of the Federal Government of Somalia, His Excellency Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta agreed on the importance of joint work between the two countries on border security and regional stability,” a statement issued by the Communications and Media Relations of the Somali Presidency said.

“Presidents Farmajo and Kenyatta stressed that the security of the two countries in interlinked and therefore it was necessary that both countries avoid anything that might create misunderstandings,” the statement added.

According to the statement, the two presidents also agreed that joint committees between the two countries would meet as soon as possible to work towards strengthening the diplomatic and economic relations between the two countries.

The talks between the two leaders comes amid rising tensions in the Somali town of Bula Hawo which borders the Northeastern Kenyan town of Mandera, where heavy fighting erupted between Somali federal government forces and troops allied to the Jubbaland regional administration.

There were reports of troop build-up in both Mandera and Bula Hawo amid reports that both sides have sent reinforcements to the region in preparation for a new round of fighting.

Somalia has repeatedly accused Kenya of interfering in its internal affairs and supporting fugitive Jubbaland Security Minister Abdirashid Janan who is reportedly hiding in Mandera from where he plans to launch attacks against federal government forces in Bula Hawo.

Kenya for its part denied the accusations and warned Somalia against what it termed provocations.