Somalia announced it has severed diplomatic ties with Kenya, accusing it of interfering in Somalia’s sovereignty.
Tensions had been rising between the neighbours as Kenya hosted the President of Somaliland, a breakaway state not recognised by the central government in Mogadishu which considers the territory part of Somalia.
Somali Information Minister Osman Dube announced the government’s decision in a televised speech late on Monday, saying its diplomats had been ordered to return and Kenyan envoys in Somalia have been ordered to leave within seven days.
“The Somali government considers the people of Kenya a peace-loving community who want to live in harmony with other societies in the region. But the current leadership of Kenya is working to drive the two sides apart,” he said in Mogadishu.
“The government took this decision to respond to recurring outright political violations and interference by Kenya against the sovereignty of our country.”
Kenya has denied the accusations.
Somaliland President Musa Bihi Abdi’s visit to Nairobi was the first since 2006.
Kenya’s foreign ministry said on Twitter the two countries “have no diplomatic presence” in each other’s territories but are “keen to broaden trade in goods and services … as the cornerstone for long-term development cooperation”.