Somalia leaders in brawl over ‘illicit’ UAE cash
The political tensions between Somali President Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed Farmaajo and the country’s Prime Minister Hussein Roble have escalated as the two engage in a public spat over UAE cash seized in this war-torn nation.
On Friday, President Farmaajo rdered the central bank governor not to release nearly $10 million in "illicit" money Friday that was seized from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2018 at Adan Adde International Airport in Mogadishu.
"H.E @M_Farmaajo President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, orders Governor of the Central Bank @CBSsomalia against releasing illicit money, 9.6M USD which was seized by our gallant Somali Security forces to any entity which seeks claim, due to its illegal entry into our nation," the presidential palace Communications Director Abdirashid Mohamed Hashi said on Twitter.
It came hours after Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble publicly apologized to the UAE for the seizure and announced his government will give the money back.
"A new dawn of normalizing relations. After a period of cold relations, Somalia & UAE are now on a progressive path to solve their differences & resume the brotherly ties between the 2 countries. PM Mohamed Hussien Roble tells that Somalia will give back to UAE the seized cash in 2018," said government spokesman Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu.
That announcement comes after Roble received 55 tons of aid from the UAE at the Mogadishu airport.
The money has been at the central bank and it led Somalia’s diplomatic relations with the Gulf country to further deteriorate.
The UAE closed a military facility and a hospital in Mogadishu after the diplomatic dispute.
Somalia accused the UAE several times of instigating chaos in the African country.
In March 2018, the lower house of Somalia’s parliament banned a UAE state-owned ports operator, DP World, from the Horn of Africa country, declaring it a threat to Somalia’s sovereignty, independence and unity.
Just before the start of the new year, Somalia’s President Farmaajo sought to arrest and remove from power Prime Minister Roble.
This move added a layer of instability on top of an already fragile political and security situation. Somalia is in the midst of a constitutional and electoral crisis, including elections that have been long delayed and President Farmaajo’s decision to remain in office after his term expired last year. Meanwhile amid the political feuds, the Al-Qaeda –linked Al Shabaab terrorist group controls vast areas of Somali countryside.