UAE ends train­ing So­mali mil­i­tary

US, Nige­ria hold mil­i­tary sum­mit

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

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

Mo­hamed

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.

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