Kenya-Somalia border reopening to delay due to security threats

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki and his Somalia counterpart Mohamed Ali during a media briefing on cross border engagement. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Kenya will delay the reopening of its border with Somalia owing to security threats posed by Al Shabaab. 

Speaking in Garissa on Wednesday, July 5, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki said the earlier plan will be put on hold until the terror threats are neutralized and the two countries engage.

"The two governments had already commenced talks to open our borders in Kiunga, Liboi, and Mandera but we will postpone the plans since we have recently witnessed the militants disrupting peace in our country. We will deal with them first and then reopen the borders," Kindiki said.

His statement comes weeks after Kenya agreed to officially reopen its border points with the neighboring country in Mandera, Lamu, and Garissa in ninety (90) days. 

Kindiki made the announcement on May 15 after a high-level consultative meeting with his Somalia counterpart, Mohamed Ahmed Sheikh, ending the 12-year barricade that began in 2011 when Kenya was launching Operation Linda Nchi to fight the influx of Al-Shabaab into the country.

"We have resolved that the border between Kenya and Somalia will be reopened in phases..The first to open is Bula Hawa in Mandera in 30 days. Next is Liboi (Mandera) in 60 days and Ras Kamboni (Lamu) in 90 days," Kindiki said.

During the joint presser at Harambee House, Nairobi, both countries stressed the need to strengthen cross-border communication and work together to ensure the stability of the two neighbouring nations.