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Kenya lifts ban on flights to and from Somalia

By BRIAN ORUTA, The Star

The government on Thursday lifted the ban on flights to and from Somalia.

In a note seen by the Star, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the change of heart was necessitated by mutual interests of the two countries, in the hope that full normalisation of bilateral relations will occur.

Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo.
Image: FILE

“The Government of Kenya has taken due consideration of intercessions made and has decided to re-open Kenya’s airspace to all flights originating from Somalia and emanating from Kenya to Somalia,” the statement said.

The statement further said that existing Covid-19 protocols will apply to all passengers from Somalia to Kenya, as directed by Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.

Covid-19 certificates are required as proof, that one does not have the virus before leaving or entering the country.

The certificates have Trusted Travel Initiative codes which are issued upon taking RT PCR Covid-19 test and is verifiable by airlines and Port Health authorities.

Travelers receive a text message from PanaBIOS and a mail from the testing laboratory with a link to guide the traveler on how to generate a Travel Code at trustedtravel.panabios.org

This comes about a month after KCAA, in a notice to airmen  suspended all flights to and from Somalia as relations between the two countries became frostier.

The ban came days after Qatar, through Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Thani brokered a breakthrough that saw Mogadishu restore diplomatic ties with Nairobi after five months of a diplomatic row. 

On May 31, the Kenyan government reiterated the ban on flights to Somalia, saying that it was prompted by the severance of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Kenya, however, said that it was ready for negotiations to renew its diplomatic missions.

In a diplomatic note, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed diplomatic missions, UN Agencies, and International Organisations that exemption had been given to humanitarian and medevac flights only.

“The Ministry reiterates that Humanitarian flights must strictly be used for humanitarian purposes to avoid a possible declaration by the government of Kenya of a full lockdown on all flights.”

Somalia had accused Kenya of meddling in domestic politics ahead of her elections which were later on postponed.

Source: The Star

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