Somalia summons Kenyan ambassador over alleged airspace violation
Mogadishu on Thursday summoned the Kenyan ambassador Lucas Tumbo to protest what it called airspace violations by Nairobi, even as Somalia faced international pressure to lift flight restrictions.
Somalia’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abdulkadir Ahmed-Kheir said his country was complaining about an aircraft that landed at Kismayu Airport “without official permission.”
“Somalia strongly protests this violation and will not accept any encroachment on its air, sea and land borders, and calls on Kenya to respond to this breach while its troops stationed in the Lower Jubba Region are part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom),” he said, referring to the AU-backed, UN-mandated, combat mission to which the Kenya Defence Forces are a part.
The summoning though could contradict Somalia’s own obligations under the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Though Mogadishu already complained the same to ICAO, it retains authority to police all civilian aircraft flying in its airspace.
AIRCRAFT IN QUESTION
That includes licensing and intercepting violators. It did not punish the aircraft in question.
The aircraft in question, a Fokker 50, is registered in Kenya as 5Y-JXJ but was leased to Jubba Airways, a Somali airliner that is licensed to operate in several Somali cities.
When the protest was first filed to ICAO on Monday, Kenyan officials argued Mogadishu was running away from own responsibility.
And as they summoned the Kenyan envoy, Mogadishu reportedly lifted the travel restrictions that required all flights heading to Kismayu to first land in Mogadishu before proceeding.
On Thursday, another Jubba Airways flight landed in Kismayu, carrying various politicians including former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
Also on board were former Planning Minister, now leader of Wadajir Party, Abdishakur Abdirahman.
Mr Abdirahman is the man who signed the controversial MoU with Kenya’s former Foreign Minister Moses Wetang’ula to resolve the maritime border via negotiations at the UN.
The Somali parliament would later reject the MoU, but when Mogadishu sued at the International Court of Justice in August 2014, the Court validated the agreement but still said it had jurisdiction to hear the border case because the MoU had only been drafted by Norway and had not locked out other options.
The politicians, with several other Somali MPs and Somaliland President Said Abdullahi Deni, landed in Kismayu ahead of the planned inauguration of local leader Sheikh Ahmed Madobe.
It is Madobe’s election, which was rejected by Mogadishu, but endorsed by Nairobi, that influenced flight restrictions.