MOGADISHU, Somali security agencies in Gedo region said they turned down a request from Kenyan defense forces to hand over the captured Al-Shabaab commander Zakariya Ismail Hersi.
Colonel Abass Ibrahim Gurey has confirmed to the media that they rejected the request from their Kenyan counterparts along the border.
Kenyan defense forces are part of the Africa Union peacekeeping troops in the region.
“They requested us to hand over, but we turned it down. We only share security cooperation. We are two different countries with different administrations,” he said.
Gurey added that the captured Al-Shabaab commander is a Somali citizen and thus he will be brought before justice inside his country to answer charges and Somali security forces will only hand him over to the federal government of Somalia in Mogadishu.
“He is under Somali flag (territory) and we have the responsibility for his security. If he will be prosecuted, let it be inside his home country,” he said.
No official comment is available from both Kenyan and Somali governments regarding the issue.
The two neighboring states have close security cooperation that is rejuvenated by the fight against Al-Shabaab militant group which has threatened the national security of both states.