Fresh fighting in Belet-Hawo ‘organized’ by Kenya, Somalia charges

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Kenya organized and supported the Jubbaland allied forces that clashed with Somali military Sunday night in Bele-Hawo, Somalia has said sparking another round of diplomatic fights in recent months.

Information Minister Osman Dube said the forces commanded by wanted Jubbaland Security Minister Abdirashid Janan attacked the border town of Belet-Hawo Sunday night leading to another cycle of fighting with federal forces.

“A Kenyan backed group cross the border tonight and attacked Gedo region but Somali National Army repelled the foreign organized invasion,” Dube said in a statement.

Terming the fighting an ‘aggression organized from inside Kenya’, Dube said the development ‘violates peaceful coexistence of people of the region and international norms based on respect and protection of national sovereignty.”

Jubbaland has however dismissed the claims. Deputy President Mohamed Adan said Jubbaland forces have ‘taken over Belet-Hawo.’ Jubbaland President Ahmed Madobe has variously demanded President Mohamed Farmaajo withdraws federal troops from Gedo region as a precondition for elections there.

Somalia has repeatedly pointed fingers at Kenya over what it termed as a violation of its territorial integrity and has gone ahead to severe diplomatic relations. Both countries have closed their respective embassies since late November when Mogadishu expelled Kenyan ambassador and subsequently kicked out all diplomatic staff from Mogadishu.

A fact-finding mission commissioned by IGAD chairman and Djibouti president Omar Guelleh concluded its visit to Kenya and Somalia last week and is expected to present its findings to the regional bloc. Somalia had sought the intervention of IGAD over the ongoing row.