Somali government on Monday condemned the detention of the delegates including Federal MPs at Jomo Kenyatta International airport where the delegations were transited on their way to Stanbul.
Somalia demanded that Kenya explain why it detained Somali lawmakers which seems to be the latest diplomatic row between Kenya and Somalia.
“The Federal Government of Somalia protests this unwarranted incident at JKIA and expects full justification and explanation from Kenya,” Somalia’s government said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, some of the delegates were held at the airport, experiencing delays including Members of our Federal Parliament.”
The statement dismisses reports saying Somali prime minister Omar Abdirashid was among the officials detained at the airport.
“The Office of the Prime Minister confirms and asserts that the Prime Minister and his delegation of Ministers were not part of this exercise and received reception at the VIP Pavilion. However, the Prime Minister decided to delay his trip because Members of the Parliament were detained.” noted the statement.
The lawmakers were not given visas on arrival and were detained several hours, said Somali government spokesman Abdisalam Aato.
All flights from Somalia to Kenya stop for extra security checks at the town of Wajir, near the Somali border, but the flight the lawmakers were on did not do this. The Somali government said the country’s leadership is exempt from rule.
“The agreement of the Federal Government of Somalia and the Republic of Kenya exempts flights carrying the leadership of the Federal Republic of Somalia to stopover in Wajir.” reads the statement.
It added “The delegation had the proper flight clearance for this purpose. In accordance with the existing cooperation agreements, the Members of Parliament have the right to entry (issuance of visas) on arrival.”
Kenya government has yet to comment on the incident.