Somalia slams Kenya over maritime dispute

Attorney General Githu Muigai during a press conference at his office in May last year. Kenya and Somalia are disputing their boundaries in the Indian Ocean.

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Kenya’s objection to the Indian Ocean maritime case before the International Court of Justice is “without merit”, Somalia’s Attorney General Ahmed Dahir has said.

Kenya and Somalia are disputing their maritime boundaries including the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles.

Dahir said Kenya is “hiding behind favours it apparently did for Somalia long ago”.

Muigai last Thursday criticised Somalia’s decision to sue Kenya over the oil-rich ocean, saying it shows the country is not appreciative of the “exceptional sacrifices” made on its behalf.

He said: “Kenyan soldiers have fought al Shabaab and have been victims of terrorist attacks. Kenya has also been hosting over 500,000 Somali refugees for almost 25 years. The least it can expect from Somalia is that it will honour its bilateral agreements.”

Muigai said the two countries had in 2009 signed an MoU agreeing to settle the boundary issue out of court. Dahir accused the Kenyan government of dishonesty.

He said: “This shows the length to which Kenya would go and the significant resources that it will devote to accomplish one objective: to make sure that the court does not hear the case.”

He said: “Kenya wants to maintain the untenable status quo and evade its responsibility to seek peaceful settlement of this complex maritime dispute between the two countries.” Muigai said the ICJ does not have jurisdiction to hear the case. Somalia launched the maritime case at the ICJ last year on August 28. Dahir said his government will reject Kenya’s attempts to “deny us justice”. “Our government believes in the strength of its legal case,” he said.

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