Kenya opposes plan to hand over Kismayu port

Kenya has opposed calls for its defence forces to cede control of Kismayu port and airport to the Somali government.

It has instead proposed that control of the two installations be negotiated between the federal government and leadership of the federal member states in line with the Somali constitution.

Defence Principal Secretary Monicah Juma and her Foreign Affairs counterpart Karanja Kibicho told a news conference on Tuesday that this would avert a sense of discrimination and lack of equity in the regions.

The two officials warned that attempts to circumvent this requirement would undermine the fragile peace, leading to “serious deterioration of the security situation.”

The government officials said the decision had elicited “disturbing reactions and heightened tension within and outside Somalia.”

The matter was brought up on Sunday by leaders of countries contributing troops to the African Union Mission in Somali at a meeting in Uganda.

In a communiqué, the regional leaders resolved to end the long running dispute over control of the two facilities by handing over their control to the Somali federal government.

The resolution followed a long-running dispute over the facilities between the Somalia government and Kenya Defence Forces.

The handover is meant to appease Mogadishu, which says charcoal exports through Kismayu have been benefiting the militias fighting it.