The row between Kenya and Somalia has taken a new twist after the horn of Africa country suspended its visa on arrival policy for Kenyan citizens.

In a Monday statement, Somalia cited the Covid-19 pandemic. However, analysts believe it is part of the escalating diplomatic tension with Nairobi. 

Relations between Kenya and Somalia have been frosty over a maritime boundary whose contested geometrical progression from the hinterland could have either country lose or gain oil-rich Indian continental shelf.

With the directive, Kenyans traveling into Somalia will have to obtain a visa from Somali embassies. Furthermore, Kenyan diplomatic passport holders will have to get clearance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The directive takes effect from Sunday, December 13, 2020.

"in line with the federal government's policy of ensuring security, improving migration management and reducing the risk of Covid-19 infection. Any traveller with a Kenyan passport that does not adhere to the above policy will be denied entry," read the notice.

The visa suspension follows last week's decision by Somalia to expel Kenya's ambassador and recall hers from Nairobi over interference in its internal affairs. 

Somalia accused Kenya of meddling in its upcoming elections by putting pressure on the regional president of Jubaland, Ahmed Mohamed Islaam Madobe, to walk back on a poll agreement brokered two months ago.

Kenya has denied any wrongdoing and dismissed the claims as unsubstantiated allegations.