Qatar recently mediated the restoration of diplomatic relations between Somalia and Kenya. But before the wave settles, Kenya is already suspending flights to Somalia with no explanation.
On Tuesday, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) officially announced that commercial flights to and from Somalia would be paused for three months with no reason following the announcement.
“All flights between Kenya and Somalia are suspended except medevac [medical evacuation] flights and United Nations flights on humanitarian missions only,” the regulator said.
What we are getting is that the government made the call. According to Director General of KCAA, Gilbert Kibe, it was
“a decision by the government.”
It hits Somalia unexpectedly soon after shaking hands with Kenya with both presidents thanking the Emir of State of Qatar for his good offices in this regard last week.
Somali aviation officials and travel agents are now in shock.
“We had not been given a prior notice, and there’s been no explanation about the reason so far,” an airport tower operator in Mogadishu said anonymously.
Shipments of khat (a narcotic plant) initially coming from Kenya into Somalia is currently on hold.
It appeared the last week statement from Somalia National News Agency has nothing to do with international travels and possibly further normalization of relations:
“The two governments agree to keep friendly relations between the two countries on the basis of principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in each other internal affairs, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence.”
Last year December, Somalia cut off its relation to Kenya, because Kenya hosted the political leadership of Somaliland, a state that broke away from Somalia and therefore not officially recognized by the Somalian government.
By Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.