MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – The United Arab Emirates is planning to build a new military base in southern Somalia’s port city of Kismayo to support the belligerent leader of Jubaland state Ahmed Madobe, Caasimada Online news website reported on Saturday.
It comes after Mogadishu and Abu Dhabi reset diplomatic following a five-year hiatus.
In 2017, Somalia’s former President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo ordered an end to UAE military presence in the war-torn country and expelled Emirati military trainers from the capital Mogadishu, accusing Abu Dhabi of using Somali forces it trained and equipped as proxies to advance its political and strategic interests.
Following Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s re-election last year, the UAE’s military and diplomatic presence in Somalia has reached new unprecedented heights, with Abu Dhabi trying to outmaneuver other Middle Eastern rivals, including Turkey and Qatar.
A shipment of more than 100 Toyota vehicles was unloaded at the port of Kismayo this week, which is expected to be used for protecting the security of a military base the UAE is planning to construct inside the strategic city. Abu Dhabi will also train thousands of loyal proxy forces there in an attempt to increase its influence in Somali politics.
Somali local media have reported that Emirati officials have begun efforts to mediate talks between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the leader of Jubaland state Ahmed Madobe, who had ties with Ethiopia’s former ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
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