A silent war is brewing between long term allies Kenya and Ethiopia ahead of regional elections in the state of Jubbaland in the troubled Somalia.
Both countries have contributed a significant number of troops to Somalia in the peace keeping process under AMISOM but the August 24th polls have divided them.
While Kenya, through KDF believes that incumbent Sheikh Ahmed Madobe is critical in the fight against Al-Shabaab, both Mogadishu and Addis Ababa believe that his time is over.
"Kenya Defence Forces reportedly denies an Ethiopian plane from landing at the Kismayo Airport, a source at Jubaland administrative capital informs Dalsan Media.This amidst talk that #Kenya & #Ethiopia may have vested interest in the coming regional presidential elections," radio Dalsan reported.
A staff member at Kismayo airport, who gave his name as Ismail, said the plane took off from Gode in southeastern Ethiopia and eventually landed in the Somali town of Baidoa. It was not certain if the plane was civilian or military.
"It wanted to land at Kismayo airport but was denied clearance because it did not send information in advance," Ismail told Reuters by telephone.
Kismayo hosts AMISOM from Sector 2 (Kenya) and Sector 6 (Burundian, Kenyan, Ethiopian). The team managed to flush Al-Shabaab out of the Kismayo town in 2012.
A source says commander of Sector 6 who is Ethiopian proposed 2 days ago deployment of units of ENDF at Kismayo airport but Kenyan commanders asked him to bring a written request and eventually denied him.
Sheikh Ahmed Madobe helped Kenya neutralise Al-Shabaab militants through his Ras Kamboni Brigade, and KDF is keen to continue having him.