Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

UAE disbands military training programme in Somalia following seizure of $10 million

UAE disbands military training programme in Somalia following seizure of $10 million

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is ending a military training programme in Somalia in response to the seizure of millions of dollars and the temporary holding of a UAE plane by Somali security forces last week.

"The decision comes in response to Somali security forces' seizure of a UAE-registered civil aircraft at Mogadishu Airport and confiscation of money destined to pay the soldiers", WAM said.

"The Federal Government of Somalia has sought to clarify facts surrounding recent developments in order to remove any room for misunderstanding between the two governments and peoples". A Somali security ministry statement at the time said the bags were full of undeclared USA dollars and an investigation is under way.

"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 goal and the utilization of the said funds and the Federal Government will work together with the UAE on their utilization", it added.

"The UAE has chose to disband its military training programme in Somalia, which started in 2014 to build the capabilities of the Somali army", said a government statement carried by the UAE's state news agency, Wam.

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 overseas.

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Under that deal, the UAE builds a military base in Berbera Port and trains the soldiers of the breakaway Somali region.

The statement on Sunday followed a similar announcement by Somalia on April 11, in which Mogadishu said it will take over paying and training the soldiers in the programme.

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

"Somalia hopes the UAE can be a contributing partner to these efforts as a counter-terrorism and trade partner", the statement said.

Relations between Somalia and the UAE have been strained over the ongoing diplomatic crisis engulfing Qatar.

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