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

The UAE said the money was meant to pay the salaries of Somali troops

REFILE - CORRECTING GRAMMAR Security officers stand at the scene after a suicide car explosion in front of Doorbin hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia February 24, 2018. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
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The UAE has ended its military training programme in Somalia following the seizure last week of millions of dollars and the temporary holding of an Emirati aircraft by Somali security forces.

“The UAE has decided 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 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.

Since 2014, the UAE has carried out a number of training missions involving thousands of Somalis, Wam reported, as well as paying the salaries of 2,407 Somali troops, building three training centres and a hospital.

On April 8, about $9.6 million in cash was taken from the UAE plane at Mogadishu airport, Somali police said. Forty-seven UAE armed forces personnel were on board the aircraft and some were held at gunpoint, Wam had reported.

The UAE said the money was to pay for the salaries for Somali soldiers as part of an agreement between the two countries.


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The Emirates are supervising the counter-piracy maritime police force in Puntland where the country has been supporting efforts to fight terrorism in collaboration with a number of international parties and the African Union's forces in Somalia.

They denounced the seizure of the money, which flies in the face of diplomatic traditions and contravenes agreements signed by both countries.

UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said last week that Somalia had created "unnecessary tension" after seizing the money.

“The current Somali government, and through a number of transgressions of previous arrangements and understandings with the UAE, has created unnecessary tension with a friend and ally that has stood by Somalia’s stability and security in the darkest times, and we urge for wisdom and rationality,” tweeted Dr Anwar Gargash.