The contested part of the Indian Ocean contains rich prospects, which includes fish, natural gas and petroleum. Both Kenya and Somalia lay claim to the area that covers about 150,000 square-kilometres. The strategic geographical location has attracted the interests of global powers and conglomerates, all eager to exploit the region’s lucrative resources. The future of the two countries is thus intricately connected to this area .
The dispute was taken to the ICJ in 2014 by then President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Two Somali women – Fawzia Yusuf Haji Adan and Muna Sharman – also played a pivotal role to ensure that Somalia eventually got justice through the ICJ.
Seven years later, on 12 October 2021, the ICJ gave its verdict that ideally declared the disputed area to be part of Somalia.
The nationalistic rhetoric of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmaajo) now places the two neighbouring countries on a collision course. Moving forward, pundits see the situation escalating.