Thursday, June 22, 2006


Two ministers from Somalia arrested on road to Nairobi Publication Date: 06/22/2006
Two assistant ministers from Somalia were yesterday arrested for allegedly being in the country illegally.

Mr Abdikalif Maalim Hassan, an assistant minister for Posts and Telecommunications and his Agriculture counterpart, Mr Ismail Abdi Mohammed, were arrested at 4am in Wajir Town on their way to Nairobi.

At the time of going to press, the two were still being detained at Wajir Police Station, waiting to be deported to their country.

The MPs were from a reconciliation meeting between two warring clans on the Kenya-Somalia border town of Bur-Haage.

The action comes barely a week after the Government ordered the arrest of Somali warlords fleeing from fighting in Somalia between Islamic militia and the counter terrorism alliance of warlords who were ousted from Mogadishu.

Speaking to KNA at police station, the assistant ministers said they entered the country through the city's Wilson airport and travelled to El-Wak to intercede in the fight between the Garre and the Marehan clans at the border.

The meeting, which was to take place at El-Wak in Mandera, was transferred to Bur-Haage in Somalia, they said. In an interview, the two denied being in the country illegally and they also denied that they were warlords.

But police said the MPs' visas had no exit and re-entry stamps.
A police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity, said one cannot use an entry visa and re-use it before it is stamped.

Kenya's ambassador to Somalia, Mr Mohammed Abdi Affey, contradicted the police, saying the two were legally in Kenya and should be allowed to continue with their journey to Nairobi.