The Kenyan government on Friday suspended direct flights from the capital city of Somalia to Nairobi for security reasons and its planes will now land in Wajir for security checks.
Direct flights to Somalia were re-embarked on two years ago after the Somalia government signed an agreement with Kenya to partially lift restrictions that were enforced 10 years ago. In 2006, Kenya imposed a strict security policy requiring flights from Mogadishu to land in Wajir for security checks before heading to any other part of the country arguing it would ensure the safety of passengers and cargo against Al-Shabaab militants
But ten years later, Kenya and Somalia signed an agreement to lift the ban, after both sides certified security arrangements for departing flights at formerly known as Mogadishu International Airport.
Captain Gilbert Kibe, Director-General of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, confirmed that the suspension was purposefully for security reasons which will last until August 9 when a review will be carried out and a decision made on whether to maintain or lift it.
However, the Somali government hurting from Kenya’s move to suspend flights from Mogadishu under its Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation has asked Kenya for reconsideration in line with its mandate to protect and safeguard its sovereignty and the dignity and wellbeing of its citizens. Somali claimed that Kenya was being unneighbourly which could hurt their relations.
“The Federal Government of Somalia believes this action places an undue burden on Somali citizens and other travelers. This act also creates [an] unnecessary barrier on trade and movement of people between the two countries. The FGS will, in the meantime, work with all relevant authorities to resolve this issue and take appropriate action as deemed necessary, ” the statement said.
Kenya and Somalia were recently engaged in a row over their border, that saw the Kenyan government ask Somali ambassador Mohamoud Ahmed Nur to return to his country for consultations and summoned its own envoy to Somalia.