Officials from Somalia and Kenya have agreed to step up their joint efforts to combat al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist group that has been responsible for deadly attacks in both countries for over a decade.
The agreement came following talks between the countries’ officials in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.
The talks were led by Hussein Moalim, the National Security Advisor to the President of Somalia, and his Kenyan counterpart, Monica Juma. The two officials discussed a range of issues, including ongoing operations against al-Shabaab and border security.
The meeting was described as an opportunity to hold “extensive bilateral discussions on the state of our strategic relations, our region, and the influence of global trends on our national and regional security,” according to a statement by Ms. Juma.
The development comes just three days after Somali Prime Minister Hamze Abdi Barre and Kenyan President William Ruto met in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to discuss bilateral trade relations and border security. During that meeting, the two leaders agreed to boost trade relations and to work together to fight al-Shabaab.
Kenya sent its troops to Somalia in 2011 to fight al-Shabaab, which it accused of abducting tourists from Kenya’s coastal regions. Thousands of Kenyan soldiers are currently working under the framework of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, known as Atmis.
Al-Shabaab has been responsible for numerous attacks in both countries, targeting security forces, civil servants, and civilians. The group has also been involved in piracy and the smuggling of weapons, drugs, and people.
The intensified cooperation between Somalia and Kenya is expected to help disrupt the group’s activities and weaken its influence in the region.
The two countries have a shared interest in maintaining stability and security in their region and have pledged to work together to achieve this goal.