UAE ends programme to train Somalia's military

Elias Hubbard
April 16, 2018

Somalia on Monday hinted it could release the 9.6 million USA dollars seized from a plane chartered by United Arab Emirates (UAE) diplomats to transport the cash to Mogadishu, a move that can defuse tension between the two countries.

The announcement by the UAE's foreign ministry marks the latest decision by a Gulf nation that affects East Africa, home to a growing web of Arab military and commercial interests.

On April 8, about $9.6 million in cash was taken from the UAE plane at Mogadishu airport, Somali police said. A Somali security ministry statement at the time said the bags were full of undeclared U.S. dollars and an investigation is under way.

Since 2014, the UAE has carried out a number of training missions involving thousands of Somalis, Wam reported, as well as paying the salaries of 2,407 Somali troops, building three training centres and a hospital.

"The ministry said Somalia welcomes foreign direct investment because prosperity and economic growth will help unite the nation", the statement added.

"As part of these efforts and after lengthy deliberations between the two governments on the recent incident involving funds that were intercepted. the UAE has explained the objective and the utilization of the said funds and the Federal Government will work together with the UAE on their utilization", it added.

UAE disbands military training programme in Somalia following seizure of $10 million
UAE halts Somali military training after cash seizure

They denounced the seizure of the money, which flies in the face of diplomatic traditions and contravenes agreements signed by both countries.

Somali officials did not immediately comment on the UAE's decision.

Relations between Somalia and the UAE have deteriorated since Somalia's refusal to take sides in the Saudi-led boycott of Qatar, which the UAE is part of.

Last month as the UAE reached a military agreement with Somaliland, an autonomous region of Somalia seeking to break away from the mainland, Mogadishu censured the agreement as violation of worldwide law, which further strained the relations.

A United Nations Security Council report in November also alleged the UAE handed out cash to influence voters in Somalia's presidential election previous year.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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