The very last batch of aviation personnel, previously placed at the FISS office in Nairobi, arrived in Mogadishu, Saturday, June 30.
This group of 27 members, including a few Kenyan key officers, landed at Mogadishu’s Adan Adde International Airport, at mid-morning, and were driven to their new quarters within the Halane compound.
Among the arrivals, and those who were already stationed at the Somalian airport, are a good number of officers trained for Somaliland aviation.
In the absence of a formidable – or credible – voice countermanding or challenging the ICAO-Somalia arrangements, Somalilanders had no choice but to go with their Somalian teammates. They were told before that they either signed the relocation papers or be terminated immediately.
Somaliland did not protest. None of its successive ministers surreptitiously meeting their counterparts on a number of unannounced trips to Nairobi even made an attempt to meet with Somalilander personnel stationed at the FISS office, let alone stand up for their rights – or safety.
Only a day after the latest and final arrivals, Al Shabaab rained mortar shells at the AMISOM command post where the AU troops’ command is located within the Halane compound.
The government of Somaliland, in the person of the national Aviation Director, appear to be a silent, junior partner in the transfer of airspace management to Mogadishu without putting up any fight to claim what is rightfully Somaliland’s as was agreed in Turkey, and set forth by the Istanbul II Communique. The director reveals at this latest conference that he had reached an unspecified, unpublished number of agreements with the Somalian side in the presence of UNSOM officers, thus, violating the spirit and pace of national-level talks between Somalia and Somaliland at the head of which the airspace issue prominently figured.
Mogadishu has already written to major airline operators such as Ethiopian, FlyDubai and Air Arabia, asking them to comply with Somalia’s licensing directives. Neither of these three, it is worth mentioning, operated in Mogadishu or at any of the other Somalian airfields. The airlines had agreements with Somaliland, alone. Rumor has it that high officials representing the airlines are presently in Mogadishu to process necessary permissions, another manifestation of Somaliland’s inacapability to protect its friendsin need.
The Director, where he should have been looking out for Somaliland interests in the matter, still completely denies that Somalia transferred Somalia/Somaliland airspace management, equipment and personnel to Mogadishu.
In fact, the Director is so awed by the Somalian minister he refers to him in front of a large presence of media practitioners as ‘His Excellency the Minister’ – a fact that drew the wrath of Somalilanders, who questioned Mr. Rodol’s priorities and, in fact, loyalty.
Somalia, as concerns airspace management and control, holds all the cards. There is pretty little Somaliland can do to e ert influence on it except take it up to international platforms for arbitration and/or possible adjudication – eventually.