UAE ends training Somali military
US, Nigeria hold military summit
DUBAI. April 16, (Agencies): 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 UAE has trained hundreds of troops since 2014 as part of an effort boosted by an African Union military mission to defeat an Islamist insurgency and secure the country for the government backed by Western nations, Turkey and the United Nations.
Analysts say Somalia whose president is Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed relations with UAE are strained by a dispute between Qatar and Saudi because Mogadishu has refused to take sides. Arab states have strong trading links with and influence in Somalia, but that is offset by the sway of Qatar and its ally Turkey, one of Somalia’s biggest foreign investors.
A government 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.
“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 the statement on the UAE’s state news agency WAM.
About $9.6 million in cash was taken from the UAE plane on April 8, Somali police and government sources had said. The UAE said the money was to pay for salaries for Somali soldiers as part of an agreement between the two countries.
The statement said a seizure incident contravened agreements signed by both countries.
WAM said the UAE has been paying the wages of 2,407 soldiers in addition to building training centres and a hospital. It said the UAE is supervising a counterpiracy maritime police force in Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland.
The UAE is also building a military base in Somaliland, another semi-autonomous
region of Somalia.
US, Nigeria hold military summit:
Military top brass from across Africa on Monday kicked off a conference co-hosted by the United States aimed at boosting cooperation between countries fighting extremist groups.
The African Land Forces Summit brings together “land force chiefs from across Africa for candid dialogue” to improve security, said the US Army in an April 10 statement.
Military leaders from almost every country on the continent — including Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya and Rwanda — were in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja to exchange notes on threats in Africa, from Al-Shabaab in the east to Boko Haram in the west.
Under Weah, media on edge:
With one Liberian newspaper facing a $1.8 million defamation case and a BBC journalist fleeing the country, there has been no honeymoon period for the press under the new government of President George Weah.
Accused of wanting to muzzle the media, the former footballer-turned-politician has attempted to reassure journalists saying they would have a “200 percent freedom of expression and press freedom under my government”.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), however, has expressed concern over the $1.8 million in defamation suits against Front Page Africa, a Liberian newspaper that has carried critical coverage of successive governments.
7 aid workers freed in S. Sudan:
South Sudan’s rebels said on Sunday they had released seven aid workers detained for nearly three weeks in the country’s Central Equatoria region on accusations of spying for the government.
Rebel spokesman Lam Paul Gabriel told Reuters the workers were released to a UN delegation near the border with Uganda and Ugandan police witnessed the handover.
South Sudan has been gripped by conflict since 2013 after a disagreement between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar deteriorated into a military confrontation.