President Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya has issued a clear warning to neighbouring Somalia - already involved in a war with Ethiopia - to renounce its claims on territory in north-east Kenya.
President Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya has issued a clear warning to neighbouring Somalia - already involved in a war with Ethiopia - to renounce its claims on territory in north-east Kenya. The area, inhabited mainly by ethnic Somalis, was the scene of a bitter five year guerrilla war which ended in 1967 with a peace agreement between Somalia and Kenya.
SYNOPSIS: But the Kenyan President told a massed crowd a the country's annual Kenyatta Day parade in Nairobi that Somalia was still laying 'false claims' on Kenyan territory. The Kenyan Government had now made plans to 'repulse aggression' from any quarter, he said. This year's ceremony is the 25th Kenyatta Day, which celebrates the Kenyan President's arrest by the British colonial government there for alleged subversive activity. The affair is normally purely ceremonial, devoted to traditional dancing and a display of the country's armed forces.
It is unusual for Kenyatta Day to be used to deliver a strong political message - especially on such a sensitive issue. President Kenyatta said Kenya was prepared to repulse any attack on its territory, and among foreign envoys accredited to Kenya present to hear the message was the Somali Ambassador.
In June this year, Kenya accused Somalia of an attack on its northern border. The charge said 3,000 regular Somali troops were involved in an attack on Ramu police post, but the Somali Government rejected the allegation. Meanwhile Ethiopia's Ogaden Desert - also largely inhabited by ethnic Somalis, like Kenya's northern territory - has been the scene of two months of heavy fighting. Large number of tanks and artillery have been used, but the Somali Government has denied being involved. The fighting is being involved. The fighting is being carried out by Somali nationalists, it says. Of the three countries, Kenya has the smallest armed forces, with a third of the manpower of the Soviet - equipped Somalis, and a quarter of the strength of the Ethiopians - also Russian-supplied.