“Kenya strikes perplexing deal with Somalia, reopening border points with burst of unexpectedness”

In a confounding and unpredictable turn of events, Kenya and Somalia have come to an agreement to reopen their porous border points. This decision was reached following a ministerial meeting, chaired by Kenya’s Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki and his Somali counterpart Abshir Omar, at the Office of the President in Kenya. The process is set to occur in three phases, over a period of three months, with security forces from both nations playing a crucial role.

The joint statement between the two countries declared that the borders, which closed in 2011 due to the wave of terror caused by the Al-Shabab group, will be reopened within 90 days. The first border point to reopen will be Mandera-Bulahawa within 30 days from the present time. Following this, the Liboi-Harhar border point will be opened within the next 60 days and Daresalam in Kiunga-Ras Kamboni border will be reopened within the next 90 days.

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This decision follows a meeting between former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, where the process of reopening the borders was elaborately discussed. A technical committee, involving technocrats from both sides, has since been drafting the agreement.

During the meeting, Kenya’s Defence Minister Aden Duale, who was in attendance, disclosed that the closure of the Kenya-Somali border has had adverse effects on the economy, leading to the push for its reopening. It was also decided that joint security teams, comprising of the Kenya Defence Forces and the Somalia Security Forces, will aid in managing security operations along the borders.

Further attendees were the Minister for Internal Security from the Federal Government of Somalia, Abshir Omar, Somali Defence Minister Abdulkadir Mohamed, and Somali Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Ali. Kenyan PS for Defence Patrick Mariru and his Interior counterpart Dr. Raymond Omollo, General Officer Commanding Eastern Command Major General Juma Mwinyikai, Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome, and his Deputy Noor Gabow, among other senior security officials, were also present.

The situation in Somalia regarding Al-Shabaab remains tense, with the militant group facing challenging moments over the past few months, leading to the death of over 3,000 fighters. Somalia projects that in the next two years, the group would have been defeated.

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