BBC correspondent Mohammed Adow reports that Somali diplomatic passports are widely available for sale in Nairobi. Adow reports that the passport seller – who sees himself as providing a public service to Somalis who otherwise can’t obtain travel documents – offered to sell him a passport certifying he was the Somali ambassador to a nation of his choice for $100. As diplomatic passports often allow travellers carrying them to avoid searches when entering a country, they’re sometimes used by drug or weapon smugglers; obviously, they’d be very useful for anyone trying to avoid detection through a terrorist watchlist.
Realizing that Somali passports are less than trustworthy, Kenyan immigration officials have stopped accepting them. Given that Kenya has suffered two major terrorist incidents in the past decade, and that it’s a major travel hub, this seems like a wise precaution. But it’s a huge problem for Somalis travelling on legitimate business and Somali traders in Kenya explain that it’s putting them out of business, as they can no longer fly to China to buy goods and bring them back into Nairobi.