Somalia: Flight to Kismayo ‘forced to return to Mogadishu’

MOGADISHU, Somalia May 1 3, 2013 (Garowe Online) - A flight carrying some 25 passengers flew from Mogadishu to Kismayo on Sunday, but the flight returned to Mogadishu’s airport, Garowe Online reports.

Mohamed Amin Abdullahi, a former Somali parliamentarian, told the VOA Somali Service during a Sunday interview their flight was “forced to return” to Mogadishu.

“We flew from Mogadishu, and we had permission from AMISOM headquarters here in Mogadishu. However, when we entered Kismayo airspace, the pilot informed us that he was ordered to return to Mogadishu because the flight does not have permission,” said Mr. Amin.

Continuing, he stated that, since their flight had the permission of AMISOM in Mogadishu, “it is clear that Kenyan troops [in Kismayo] rejected our flight and therefore Kenya is not part of AMISOM.”

Mr. Amin condemned the role of Kenya, saying that “Kenya cannot rule Somalia” and claimed that all the flight’s passengers were “going to their homes” in Kismayo.

Asked if he had any communication with Kismayo’s interim administration, Mr. Amin said: “There is no administration I recognize in currently in Kismayo.”

In March 2013, Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon visited Kismayo and was hosted by the city’s interim administration, led by Sheikh Ahmed “Madobe” Mohamed Islam.

Kismayo officials denied any report of a flight forced to return to Mogadishu.

Inside sources tell Garowe Online that Kenyan police at Nairobi airport earlier in 2013 deported Mr. Amin and a fellow traveler, referred to only as ‘Lugadhere’.

Moreover, reliable sources in Mogadishu tell Garowe Online that Mr. Amin’s claim that all the passengers were “going to their homes” is a false statement, particularly since Mr. Mohamed Hassan Haad was among the flight passengers.

Mr. Haad, the self-declared chairman of Hawiye clan elders, hails from Galgadud region and does not have a home in Kismayo. Moreover, Somali media quoted Mr. Haad in recent months declaring “jihad” on Kismayo and he has been actively promoting clan violence targeting Kismayo.

Unconfirmed reports say Mr. Amin and fellow flight passengers were “appointed as Lower Jubba regional officials” by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who has publicly opposed the Jubaland state formation process underway in Kismayo.

Meanwhile in Kismayo, the 500 delegates allocated among local clans are expected to convene later this week for the election of Jubaland‚Äôs president and vice president, sources say¬†, follo¬†wing the successful passing of the¬†new state’s constitution¬†.



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