NAIROBI (Somaliguardian) –Jay Bahadir, former coordinator of UN monitoring group on Somalia and Eritrea speaking in an interview with Deutsche Welle website disclosed Kenya’s intensions to annex parts of Somalia.
“In the last few years, we’ve had an escalation of the maritime dispute between Kenya and Somalia which has led to increased tensions between the two countries and even to the point where Kenya has discussed at a very high level the actual annexation of parts of Somali territory,” Bahadur says.
Kenya has long been using the pretext of Al-Shabaab attacks in its soil as a tool to annex parts of Somalia and in particular land areas adjacent to the disputed maritime boundary –which is a lucrative, oil rich zone.
“I don’t think in today’s world that an actual annexation of territory is very easy thing or politically feasible thing to do. But I think it indicates how serious the tensions between the two countries have become,” Bahadur said.
Kenya contributes about 4,000 troops to the African Union Peacekeeping mission in Somalia, AMISOM. But Kenya has more than a double that amount of non-AMISOM troops deployed in Somalia, according to Bahadur.
Kenya’s buffer zone against Al-Shabab in Somalia is located in Gedo region, extending to the disputed maritime location. Mogadishu believes Nairobi’s actual intention of supporting Jubbaland’s Ahmed Madobe is “to continue their presence in that area where there is the disputed maritime space,” Bahadur said.
According to Bahadur, Kenya’s interest in Somalia goes beyond stopping Al-Shabaab and the oil-rich maritime area. Kenya needs “access to Kismayo port, some level of control of Kismayo port, access to charcoal export from Somalia that KDF have profited from.”
KDF had invaded Somalia in 2011 with the pretext of fighting Al-Shabaab, but the group is now much stronger than it was inside Kenya, carrying out frequent insurgency attacks against government targets, security forces and non-Muslim Kenyans.
For many, Kenya has paid a heavy price for its invasion in Somalia and still holds onto the view of annexing parts of the country to make use of its natural resources –using Jubaland administration as a medium towards its objective.
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