Kenya cuts off ties with Somalia over oil block row

Published 18.02.2019 00:00
Updated 18.02.2019 11:27

A row between Kenya and Somalia over a maritime territorial area escalated after Nairobi cut off diplomatic ties.

Kenya on Sunday expelled Somali Ambassador Mohamed Nur and recalled its envoy, retired Gen. Lucas Tumbo.

Kenya has declared Somalia an enemy state after the Horn of Africa nation allegedly auctioned off oil, gas and mineral blocks falling within the Kenyan borders.

In a statement, Kenya's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau said that the auction which took place on Feb. 7, 2019, in London was illegal and "an act of aggression against the people of Kenya and their resources".

Somali MP Abdirizak Mohamed said that Kenya's move is a preemptive strategy to force Somali government to open negotiations on the maritime dispute.

The bone of contention between the two countries is a disputed 62,000-square-mile oil- and mineral-rich land in the Indian Ocean.

The matter ended up at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

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