Defence Cabinet Secretary Hon. Aden Duale has reaffirmed the imminent need to reopen the Kenya-Somalia border at three strategic border points to ease the movement of people and goods so as to enhance relationships and trade along the common border.
The Cabinet Secretary said some of the border points had only been closed on paper but only encouraged the smuggling of contraband, narcotics and illegal migrants.
He noted that Somalia is a key, strategic and important neighbour both in the fight against the common enemy of terrorism and violent extremism as well as a key trade partner in the region.
Hon. Duale made the remarks today during a high-level meeting between high-profile delegations from the government of the Republic of Kenya and the Federal Government of Somalia aimed at establishing modalities to reopen the border that has been closed for the last 10 years.
The CS maintained that the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) were committed to continuing to secure Somalia and strengthening the Somalia Security Forces (SSF) even as the planned drawdown of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) by the Troops Contributing Countries (TCC) was at an advanced stage.
“We are at ATMIS to ensure that we secure Somalia since a stable and peaceful Somalia is a stable Kenya, the region and the entire globe. We know that the border is only closed on paper but the porous border continues to encourage illicit trade, human trafficking and narcotics, which find their way into the country,” said the CS.
Hon. Duale reiterated that reopening the border shall enable joint patrol and assist in intelligence sharing.
His sentiments were echoed by the CS for Interior and National Administration Prof. Kithure Kindiki who said plans are at high stage to reopen the borders in the next 90 days.
The borders earmarked for reopening are Mandera-Bulahawa in Mandela, Liboi-Dhobley in Garissa, and Kiunga-Ras KamboniLamu Counties.
Prof. Kindiki and his Somalia counterpart H.E Abshir Omar signed a joint agreement that shall enable the reopening of the identified border points.
Somali Defence Minister Abdulkadir Mohamed thanked KDF for their sacrifices since 2011 by ensuring that Somalia regains peace and stability.
Others present during the occasion include the Somali Minister for Foreign Affairs Mohamed Ali, Kenya’s Principal Secretary for Defence Patrick Mariru and his Interior and National Administration counterpart Raymond Omollo, General Officer Commanding Eastern Command (GOC EastCom) Major General Juma Mwinyikayi and the Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome , among other senior security officials.