Somali Stops Visa on Arrival for Kenyans as Rift Deepens

The Somali government has stopped the issuance of visas to Kenyans as the rift between the two East African countries deepens.

Somalia’s immigration department, in a statement dated December 7, said: “In line with the Federal government’s policy of ensuring security, improving migration management and reducing the risks of Covid-19 Infections, from December 13, 2020, all Kenyan passport holders travelling to the territory of the Federal Republic of Somalia are obliged to obtain visas from Somali embassies.”

The statement asked all Kenyan passport holders travelling to Somalia to obtain visas from Somali embassies.

It also advised diplomatic passport holders to seek approval from the Somali foreign affairs ministry.

“Diplomatic passport holders are now required to have an approval from the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Federal Government, the statement added.

The directive takes effect on 13 December.

Mogadishu said the decision was in line with its “policy of ensuring security and improving immigration management to reduce the risks of Covid-19 infections”.

The move came a week after Somalia expelled Kenya’s ambassador to Mogadishu and recalled its envoy from Nairobi.

It said the Kenyan government is interfering in the electoral process in the semi-autonomous Jubbaland state.

“The federal government of Somalia expresses it regret in the government of Kenya’s overt and blatant interferences in the internal and political affairs of Somalia which has the potential to be a hindrance to stability,” a statement from Somalia’s foreign ministry said at the time.

Relations between the two east African neighbours have been strained in recent years, mainly due to a maritime rights dispute.

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