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Somalia to respond counter sanctions over Kenya’s re-imposition of Wajir stopover for all flights

Somalia Federal Government will respond with counter sanctions the decision by the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) to reimpose Wajir stopover for all Somalia flights bound to Nairobi, the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation said.

Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Salad Omar said he has received the Kenyan decision later on Thursday but that he could not know the motive behind the new order of rerouting of flights from Somalia to Wajir Airport.

“We are assessing the new directive from Kenya and we are consulting on our reaction which will come in the coming days,” he said.

According to a Notices to the Airman (NOTAM) released Thursday by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority stated that “all flights from Mogadishu, Somalia must route via Wajir for security checks before proceeding to their final destinations.”

“We still don’t know the reason to this decision. I can confirm that this is not related to any security threat from our side. Mogadishu Airport safety standard is similar to those in the world,” he said.

Mr. Omar noted that the security checks at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport was standardized.

By introducing of the new instructions, Kenya seems to have terminated its March 2017 agreement with Somalia which promised direct flights between the two capitals after almost a decade of transiting through Wajir.

That agreement was made and signed by the two presidents of Somalia’s Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta.

Other areas the agreement brought was forming at least two border crossing posts at Mandera-Bula Hawa and Dhobley -Liboye towns to ease follow of trade and immigration of both sides.

In November 2006, the Kenyan government decided to suspend direct scheduled flights to and from Somalia owing to security concerns vis-a-vis the then existing Islamic Courts Union.

Following pressure, the suspension was lifted in August 2007 but imposed that all flights should thereafter stop at the Wajir Airport for customs, immigration and security screening before continuing onto their final destination.

Horn Globe Media contributed reporting

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