UAE stops training Somalia's military after cash seizure

FILE - In this March 25, 2018 file photo, Somali soldiers secure the scene of a car bomb explosion near the parliament building in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia. The United Arab Emirates said in a statement late Sunday, April, 15, 2018, that it will end its military training mission to Somalia after an incident that saw its soldiers assaulted and $9.6 million seized at an airport in Mogadishu. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh, File)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates says it will end its military training mission to Somalia after an incident that saw its soldiers assaulted and $9.6 million seized at an airport in Mogadishu.

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.

The UAE has trained thousands of Somali soldiers in the mission it began in 2014, which both helped the conflict-ravaged nation rebuild after decades of chaos and give Emirati soldiers more experience abroad.

But tensions between the countries hit a high on April 8, when the UAE said Somali soldiers boarded an Emirati airplane at the Mogadishu airport, assaulted its soldiers at gunpoint and confiscated $9.6 million. A Somali Security Ministry statement at the time said the bags were full of undeclared U.S. dollars and an investigation was underway.

Late Sunday night, the UAE's Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it would end its training mission in Somalia, where it also built training centers and a hospital. The UAE has been working with an anti-piracy force in Puntland and paid the salaries of 2,407 Somali soldiers.

"The UAE has expressed its denunciation of the seizure incident which flies in the face of diplomatic traditions and ties between world countries and contravenes the agreements signed by both countries," the ministry said in a statement.

Somali officials did not immediately comment on the UAE's decision. However, Somali officials on Wednesday said that it would end UAE funding of its armed forces.

Relations between Somalia and the UAE have been strained over the ongoing diplomatic crisis engulfing Qatar. Somalia's government has remained neutral in the conflict despite Saudi and Emirati pressure to denounce Doha.

Dubai-owned DP World port operator also is operating a major port in Somalia's breakaway territory of Somaliland. The UAE also plans to open a military base there and has invited Somaliland officials to visit the Emirates.

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

___

Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellap . His work can be found at http://apne.ws/2galNpz .

People also read these

Cyprus president: Talks proposal could bring...

May 22, 2017

The Greek Cypriot president of ethnically divided Cyprus is urging Turkish Cypriots to accept his...

UN envoy calls off Cyprus talks, no deal on peace...

May 26, 2017

UN envoy calls off Cyprus talks after no agreement on final reunification summit

Police: 305 Syrian migrants reach Cyprus on 2...

Sep 10, 2017

Cyprus police say a 36-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly driving one of a pair of boats...

UN regrets tax on aid to Greek Cypriots in...

Oct 4, 2017

The United Nations says it regrets a decision by Turkish Cypriot authorities to impose taxes and...

Cypriots vote for new president

Jan 28, 2018

Cypriots began voting for a new president they hope will overcome years of failure to resolve the...

About Us

Get a quick look at what’s happening in the world today with in-depth analysis on international news, politics, business and technology, only in Central News Today.

Contact us: sales[at]centralnewstoday.com

Subscribe Now!