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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Boundary news Headlines

Somalia brings sea border dispute with Kenya to international court

(29 July 2015)

Somalia has submitted claims to its disputed sea border with Kenya to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The disputed territory amounts to over 100,000 square kilometers of Indian Ocean territory which has shown to contain potential gas reserves. The ICJ invited Somalia to submit a claim after efforts to negotiate a settlement outside of court failed in 2014.

Somalia argues for a maritime border extending the land border between the countries, whereas Kernya argues that the sea border ought to continue in a straight line east. The dispute between the countries has led to lack of legal clarity regarding potential oil and gas drilling rights, preventing investment. Kenya's Attorney General Githu Muigai has confirmed that it has already allocated exploration rights to foreign companies seeking to drill for oil and gas.

The ICJ has asked Kenya to formally respond to Somalia’s claim by May 2016, and would begin hearings after that point. Resolution of the dispute could take several more years.


Somalia takes Kenya to ICJ over sea border, BBC News, 13 July 2015,