Kenya and Somalia agree to reopen three border points after 12 years' closure

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

Kenya and Somalia have agreed on re-opening the three border points between the two countries after 12 years of closure over insecurity and terror threats.

Addressing the press in Nairobi after hosting a ministerial delegation from Somalia, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki said they had agreed on reopening the Mandera/Belet Hawo (Belethawa), Kiunga/Ras Kamboni and Liboi-Harhar/Dhobley that was closed by President Uhuru Kenyatta's administration.

"The border between Kenya and Somalia will be reopened in a face-out manner within the next 90 days effective today starting with the Mandera - Bulahawa border points which should be opened in the next 30 days," Kindiki stated.

At the same time, the CS stressed the need to stabilise security at the border points stating that it is the only way to manage irregular migration, organised crime and violent extremism for terror gangs.

He said both governments are in agreement on the need to strengthen cross-border communication and information sharing and need to develop modalities to address cross-border challenges since the security threats are transnational in nature and require a coordinated response

On his part, the Minister for Internal Security, Federal Government of Somalia Mohamed Ahmed Sheikh Ali, said his country recognizes the importance of cross-border collaboration adding that there is need to enhance cooperation and partnership to address the security challenges and foster greater regional integration.

"We have agreed on various issues that will foster the relations between Kenya and Somalia and we have agreed on various bilateral points including easing visa requirements, cross-border cooperation, security and trade. Both countries commit to setting up modalities to implement the measures outlined.