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Kenya calls for end to fighting in Belet-Hawo, mum on Somalia accusations

NAIROBI (SD) – Kenya said Monday it had written to the African Union over the fighting in Belet-Hawo citing fears of refugees influx and further instability in the region but snubbed Somalia’s claims it was responsible for the fighting.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nairobi said in a statement the fighting which by midday had claimed over ten lives and displaced dozens from both sides of the border would herald another humanitarian crisis.

“Kenya’s primary concern is that the renewed fighting engenders large-scale displacement of civilians inside Somalia and increasingly generates large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers to Kenya, therefore aggravating the already dire humanitarian situation in Somalia and in the refugee camps in Kenya,” said a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Kenya is concerned that if the fighting continues unabated, the situation could further destabilise the region, complicate the security situation and reverse gains made in the fight against terrorism.”

It called for ‘immediate cessation of hostilities and a rapid return to normalcy’.

Somalia had earlier in the day pointed fingers at Kenya noting that the Jubbaland forces were supported and deployed by Kenya Defence Forces to clash with the Somali military across the border in Bele-Hawo.

“A Kenyan backed group cross the border tonight and attacked Gedo region but Somali National Army repelled the foreign organised invasion,” Information Minister Osman Dube said in a statement.

At least 11 people among them five children of the same family were killed in the fighting that began in the wee hours of Monday morning. The Somali government said federal forces had taken control of the town and captured ‘hundreds’ of Janan commanded forces.

The fugitive Jubbaland Security Minister Abdirashid Janan has commandeered the Jubbaland forces some of whom were based on the Kenyan side following a similar clash last March.

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