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Somalia investigates $9.6m from UAE plane

Hiiraan Online
Monday April 9, 2018

Mogadishu (HOL) - National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) has begun a probe into the $ 9.6 million USD seized at Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu, the Internal Ministry confirmed.

Officials at Aden Adde International Airport on Sunday confiscated three unmarked bags with over $9.6 million from a Boeing 737/700 belonging to Royal Jet - A luxury airline based in Abu Dhabi that caters the Gulf regions elite - which landed at the airport shortly after 1:40 PM (local time).

The seizure led to a tense standoff between Mogadishu airport officials and the UAE embassy staff.

In a statement, the Internal Ministry said the country's Spy Agency commenced probes into the incident.

"The amount is $9.6 million and the Security Agency has started investigating the final destination of the money, its purpose and the individuals who were involving its smuggling," said the ministry in the statement.

The aircraft which flew from Abu Dhabi was briefly detained at the airport after authorities in the airport sought more information about the destination of the money, according to an official who spoke to Hiiraan Online on Sunday.

"The officials met the pilot and two other people who disembarked from the plane but they (the pilot and his crew) were reluctant, then the security officials conducted a thorough search and found three bags of money," said the officer who sought anonymity.

Relations between Somalia and the UAE have deteriorated rapidly since June 2017 when Somalia decided to take a neutral stance on the Gulf Crisis that erupted between Qatar and the Saudi-led block that includes United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Mauritania, and Egypt.

Last month, Somalia's Parliament voted unanimously to ban Dubai-operated DP World from conducting business in Somalia over DP's tumultuous port deal in Berbera. Somalia protested to the UN Security Council last month over the UAE's interference in Somalia's internal affairs.

"The Federal Government of Somalia strongly condemns these blatant violations, and reaffirms that it will take the necessary measures deriving from its primary responsibility to defend the inviolability of the sovereignty and the unity of Somalia," he said.

In late December, a powerful Somali senator alleged that Somali security forces trained by the UAE illegally ransacked his private home.

“Immediately after my house was stormed, the head of Mogadishu’s national security forces called me saying the forces that attacked my house were the military forces trained by the United Arab Emirates. But an investigation will prove who they were,” Qaybdiid was quoted as saying.

Turkey, the EU, Britain, the United States, UAE and others have all given Somali soldiers training.

Ambassador Mohammed Ahmed Othman Al Hammadi, the UAE envoy to Mogadishu, told VOA Somali that the money was for the salary of the UAE-trained Somali soldiers.

Abu Dhabi has also agreed to train soldiers in Somaliland - a self-declared state in northern Somalia internationally recognized as Somalia.


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