The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has condemned the interception by the Somali security authorities of a private civil aircraft that it says was carrying members of the UAE forces, money and weapons allocated to support the Somali army and trainees.
Journalists in Somalia reported the interception of the plane at Mogadishu Airport, where up to $9.6 million cash was impounded.
Authorities in Somalia say the bags containing cash were unmarked and unverified by UAE diplomats, thus the investigation as to whether the money was intended to destabilise the country.
The Saudi owned Al Arabiya news channel reports that the UAE foreign ministry has issued a statement saying the move by the Somali authorities was ‘illegal and contradicted diplomatic norms and traditions’.
“The United Arab Emirates deplores this violation of international law and norms, while the UAE has provided all kinds of political, economic, military and humanitarian support in the darkest conditions to establish security and stability in the Somali Federal Republic.”
In November 2014, Somalia and the UAE signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance military cooperation.
UAE says the confiscated funds are intended to support and pay the Somali army and trainees based on that agreement.
Relations between the two countries have been negatively affected by a row over the business dealings of a UAE-based company DP World with semi-autonomous Somaliland.
There are also concerns that the UAE could be interested in destablising the region, specifically the government of Somalia.
Kenya’s Majority leader, Aden B Duale, is on record to have singled out UAE for “undermining” sovereignty of Somalia. “What is going on in Somalia is a proxy war led by UAE mercenaries to undermine the sovereignty, legitimate government and institutions. Somalis must not allow foreign mercenaries to destabilize their country,” he is quoted to have said.