Kenya revealed on Friday that it had deported an Eritrean diplomat “for security reasons” hours before the country’s Foreign Minister made an abrupt visit to Nairobi seeking audience with President Kibaki.
The diplomat is the second Eritrean to be expelled from Kenya in as many months on grounds of “security” — which is diplomatic speak for involvement in activities that undermine the host country. He was described as a businessman.
The Foreign Affairs adviser of public affairs, Prof Egara Kabaji, said the head of Horn of Africa division who could give more information, was out of office on transfer to Uganda. He, however, referred further queries to Immigration department or the government spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua.
The Immigration public communications officer, Mr E Njeru, said “there are two cases involving Eritreans who were deported on security related grounds. The diplomat’s case happened earlier.”
He identified one of the deportees as Mr Hannibal Menghstie but we could not verify immediately whether he was the diplomat.
Contacted by the Saturday Nation, the Eritrean Ambassador, a Mr Sareh, said: “We have seen Mr Wetang’ula and all questions should be answered from the Kenyan Foreign Affairs office.”
The expulsions and Thursday’s blistering attack by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the Horn of Africa nation for its involvement in the Somalia crisis is building up into the new front in the regional fight against terrorism.
Eritrea is allegedly bolstering insurgents al-Shabaab’s firepower and inflicting a heavy price on the AU forces.
On July 11, the Ugandan contingent in Mogadishu lost three soldiers during intensive fighting, when the insurgents shelled the presidential palace with mortars.
Sources in Mogadishu also said 15 Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) troops had been critically wounded in the fighting although the Ugandan army spokesman, Maj Felix Kulayigye, last week acknowledged only one was wounded.
A day after Mrs Clinton warned of unspecified action against the country, Eritrea dispatched Foreign Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed to Nairobi who immediately went into a meeting with Kenyan counterpart, Mr Moses Wetang’ula.