Kenya, Somalia Agree On Phased Reopening of 3 Border Points

Nairobi — Kenya and Somalia officials have endorsed the phased reopening of three border posts between the two countries over a 90-day period.

The border points in located in Garissa, Mandera and Lamu counties were closed under former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration in 2011 as a result of increased attacks by the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab terror outfit which affiliated to Al-Qaeda.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki said Monday during a joint media briefing with his Somalia counterpart Mohamed Sheikh Ali, that the move is part of the efforts to enhance to cross-border co-operation and bilateral ties between Kenya and Somalia.

CS Kindiki said that the Mandera-Bula Hawa border point will be the first to be opened after 30 days. This will be followed by the opening of Liboi-Harhar-Dhobley on the Somalia side and Kiunga-Ras Kamboni border point in Lamu within ninety days.

“The first border point provides an entry point from the Kenyan side in Mandera County, the second border point provides an entry point from the Kenyan side in Garissa County, and the last border point in Kiunga will eb able to provide an entry point from the Kenyan side in Lamu County,” Kindiki said following a high -level meeting that was also attended by Somalia’s Minister for Defence Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur and Abshir Omar Jama, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Kenya’s Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale.

Anti-terrorism efforts

CS Kindiki said that Kenya and Somalia continue to experience both intra and inter-state security threats emanating from Al-Shabaab terrorist group with increased prevalence along the shared border areas.

As a result, Kindiki said that there was need for the two countries to step up their efforts to counter violent extremism.

He noted that terrorism poses a threat to peace and stability at both the national and regional levels.

“The deliberations noted the need to enhance co-operation and partnership between our two neighborly countries purpose to address the challenges to foster regional integration,” Kindiki said.

He said during the meeting, both governments recognized and commented the complimentary role played by development partners in the fight against terror, violent extremism, cross border organized crime and the value addition to efforts to maintains peace and security in the region.

Cross-border cooperation

The Interior CS pledged Kenya’s commitment to enhancing cross-border engagements keeping in mind the emerging security trends and dynamics paradigms that transcend national, regional and continental boundaries.