Deploy KDF to guard waters, MP tells State

The National Assembly Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations has advised the Government to deploy Kenya Defence Forces to guard Kenya's territorial waters in the Indian Ocean, which are being claimed by Somalia government.

Committee chairman Ndung'u Gethenji said Kenya should vigorously defend her territory, which Somalia is laying claim to.

He said claimed Somalia, which is home to Al Shabaab, is planning to grab the territory.

"Somalia's action to move to claim the continental shelf is in bad faith, especially at a time when Al Shabaab is spreading terror in Kenya," said Mr Gethenji.

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He said Somalia was claiming maritime wealth and waters that belong to Kenya.

"The continental shore is Kenyan and KDF should be deployed to the region to ensure our maritime shelf is well guarded," he said.

He said the move was meant to deny the country maritime wealth.

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The triangle of the disputed ocean territory stretches for more than 100,000 square kilometres and the portion lies in an oil-rich territory.

About a week ago, Somalia rejected a request to solve the border dispute out of court and announced that it was submitting documents to the United Nations International Court of Justice.

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Bilateral talks

Somalia's Information Minister Mohammed Maareeye said their case was to be deposited in court on Monday last week, after the Somalia cabinet decided that the dispute be arbitrated through the court and not bilaterally.

"Both Kenya and Somalia have attempted in the past to resolve the matter bilaterally but those attempts were unsuccessful. That is why we decided to take the matter to the United Nations court," Mr Maareeye told Radio Mogadishu, the official mouthpiece of the Somalia Government.

According the court rules, Kenya will have eight months to respond to the application by Somalia after which hearings will begin formally.

If everything goes according to plan, the hearings will begin in March next year. The case might take several years before the court rules on the matter.

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Kenya wants the maritime border to go in a straight line east from the land border while Somalia wants it to continue along the line of the land border, to the southeast diagonally.

Two weeks ago, Somalia's Attorney General Ahmed Ali said they have written to the six companies that have been prospecting for oil, gas and minerals in the disputed area, asking them to halt operations until the United Nations court helps resolve the territory dispute.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed said the two counties were holding talks but Somalia still lodged the complaint.

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Kenya Defence Forcesterritorial watersIndian OceanAl Shabaab