Somalia bans direct flights to Kismayo from Kenya

. Aircraft from Kenya will not directly access the three main airports and tens of airstrips

. Experts argue the current Government of Somalia might have difficulty in imposing such directives since has no machinery in place

Somalia has ordered all aircraft originating from Kenya to land in Mogadishu as the diplomatic row over boundary between the neighbours escalate. Mogadishu will vet all goods and people entering the war-torn country. “International and local flights from and to Kisimayo must route via Mogadishu,” the government’s aviation bulletin said.

Previously, the aircraft were allowed to land in Kismayo, Mogadishu and Garbaharey airports on top of tens of airstrips across the country. “They are technically punishing the traders who travel to Kismayu, the economic hub of Somalia. Since, if you live Nairobi you have to go through Mogadishu to access Kismayu. From Kismayo, you will have to travel to Mogadishu, Wajir and then back to Nairobi,” a Somali businessman told the Star.

Stakeholders also believe that the move is meant to tame Kenya’s association with a number of federal states that have threatened or want to break away from Somalia.

They include Jubaland, Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Jubaland, Puntland, Somaliland and Southwest Somalia. This comes after Kenya suspended direct flights from Somalia’s capital Mogadishu to Nairobi for security reasons. In a memo dated August 27, addressed to the officers in charge of Wajir International Airport, the Interior Ministry directed that aircrafts from Somali should land in Wajir for multi-agency security checks.

“It has been decided that passengers on flights originating from the republic of Somali and destined for Nairobi to be taken through preliminary multi-agency security checks at Wajir International Airport,” the memo reads in part. The government also directed that visas and immigration endorsements be issued at JKIA, unlike previously where they were issued in Somalia. On its part, the Federal Government of Somalia warned that the move placed an undue burden on Somali citizens and other travelers between the two countries.

“This act also creates an unnecessary barrier on trade and movement of people between the two countries,” Somalia’s Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation said in a statement. Kenya and Somalia diplomatic relations row started after Indian Ocean.Maritime Somali water kenya claimed the case hearing International Court of Justice.9,September,2019,

Source: The Star, Kenya