Kenya toughens travel rules for Somalia, bans unaccompanied luggage

Unaccompanied luggage from Somalia will be confiscated and destroyed, Kenya has said in its latest move to toughen immigration rules for travellers from Somalia amid an escalating diplomatic row.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement Tuesday it will no longer accept luggage into the country which are not accompanied by the owners.

“The government of Kenya has noted with concern many pieces of unaccompanied baggage on flights emanating from Somalia. This contravenes international air transport regulations and poses a security threat,” Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said.

“Such baggage will be confiscated and destroyed in line with applicable, air transport safety and security regulations and the carrier airline will be held responsible,” the statement added.

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The Kenyan government also noted passengers from Mogadishu are allowed to travel to Kenya without proper documentation.

“It has come to the notice of relevant authorities in Kenya that passengers are allowed to travel from Mogadishu without proper documentation and visas. The ministry therefore requests that documents verification be enhanced at the port of departure,” the letter said.

The ban also follows reports in sections of Kenyan media that $1.7 million originating from Somalia was seized at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Monday night.

Tuesday’s announcement from Nairobi adds to the growing list of actions by Nairobi seen to be in retaliation to Mogadishu’s insistence that the maritime dispute can only be dealt with through the International Court of Justice which is expected to make its ruling on the matter later this year.

Somalia notified aid agencies this past week its officials will no longer be attending meetings in Nairobi noting such meetings should be held either within Somalia or a third country.

And in what could signal protest from the country’s highest office, President Mohamed Farmaajo used Tanzania as a stop-over to and from South Africa last week avoiding the traditional Kenyan route.

 

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