MOGADISHU, Somalia – Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has on Friday ordered the country’s chief of central bank not to release $9.6 million seized from United Arab Emirates on April 8, 2018 at the airport in the capital Mogadishu.
The move by the president came after his prime minister Mohamed Hussein Roble apologised to UAE for his government’s move to seize $9.6 million from Abu Dhabi.
Mr. Roble also promised to return the money to UAE. He made the announcement on Friday after receiving food aid from UAE.
Amid strained relations, Somali officials argued the money was intended to “destabilise” the country while Abu Dhabi also claimed it was for the salary of Somali military soldiers.
In 2018, Somali security at Mogadishu airport seized at least three suitcases containing $9.6 million. The money was put in storage in the central bank of Somalia pending an investigation.
The UAE has been training Somali soldiers in Mogadishu, as well as about 1,000 maritime police in the Puntland region.
But the UAE government suspended all operations in Somalia after Mogadishu cut ties its diplomatic relations UAE over alleged interference into internal affairs of Somalia.
Somalia has fallen into a new political row between president Farmajo and his PM Roble over the elections. Last month, president Farmajo suspended his PM Roble’s executive powers.
In an online statement, PM Roble also blamed president for an attempt to militarily take over his office in Mogadishu.