Somali citizens with diplomatic passports have started to be investigated and searched in detail at passport control offices at Kenya’s Airports after three senior Somalia government officials were refused entry into JKIA and told they would have to return to Mogadishu, even though some of their colleagues travelling on foreign passports had been allowed in.
This comes scarcely a week after officials travelling for the launch of the programme meant to quell frequent border clashes between communities living near boundaries between Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia were stopped over in Wajir for security checks before proceeding to any other airport in Kenya.
Kenya Civil Aviation Authority had directed flights from Mogadishu to stop over in Wajir for security checks before proceeding to any other airport in Kenya with KCAA boss Gilbert Kibe saying that the move was for security reasons despite protests from Mogadishu.
“The Kenyan authorities at the airport informed these guys that such plan has changed, and now everyone has to obtain a visa from Kenya’s Mission in Mogadishu,” a senior Somali official in the delegation, but who travelled on a foreign passport, told the Nation on Monday night.
“The officials learnt this change upon arrival as there was no prior communication regarding this.”
While it seems the initial policy towards Somali diplomatic and service passport holders has changed, Mogadishu claims it is not aware.
Traditionally, under a bilateral arrangement, diplomatic passport holders are granted entry visas at ports of entry.
The implementation came after Kenya slammed Somalia over a claim that the latter had auctioned oil blocks located in a disputed border area.
At the centre of the dispute is suspected to be the narrow triangle on the Indian Ocean measuring 62,000 square miles. It is not yet clear to which country it belongs, but it is believed to hold large deposits of oil and gas.