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Somali Civil Aviation refutes World Remit founder's air ambulance blockade claims

Friday February 9, 2024

Mogadishu (HOL) - The Somali Civil Aviation Authority has refuted reports claiming that the Agency turned away an Air Ambulance destined for Hargeisa, the capital of the breakaway Somaliland region.

The Agency's clarification on Thursday comes in response to allegations made by Ismail Ahmed, the Founder and Chairman of WorldRemit, a money transfer company, on his Facebook page. Ahmed alleged that the Somali government denied access to the Somali airspace for a plane intended to transport his sick brother from Hargeisa to undergo surgery in Addis Ababa.

"This morning, the Somali government denied permission for an Air Ambulance to carry my brother, who suffered a head bleed and required surgery in Addis Ababa. Despite the urgent medical need, this small ambulance plane, which regularly serviced Hargeisa, was intentionally barred by the authorities from landing in Hargeisa. We are now making arrangements to divert the flight to Jigjiga to disembark and continue from there. I have been informed that such incidents occur but are disregarded. Therefore, it's imperative to confront this rogue entity's mismanagement of our airspace before it inflicts more damage on our community," stated businessman Ismail Ahmed.

The Somali Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that no Air Ambulance had submitted a request to land at the country's airports, nor had any medical aid plane been denied access to Somali airspace.

Last month, the Somali Civil Aviation Authority turned away an "unauthorized" Ethiopian Airlines plane (ET8372) D-8-Q400, bound for Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland, from Somali airspace. Information Minister Daud Aweis disclosed that the flight was transporting a senior Ethiopian delegation to Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland.

One day later, another cargo plane bound for the self-declared republic of Somaliland from Sharjah was denied airspace permission. The Agency cited that the cargo plane, registered in Thailand (registration P4-JAG), failed to provide information regarding its cargo.

Relations between neighbouring nations Ethiopia and Somalia have deteriorated following Ethiopia's signing of a Red Sea access agreement with Somaliland, a breakaway region of Somalia. Somalia has condemned Ethiopia's port deal with Somaliland, denouncing it as "illegitimate," a threat to good neighbourly relations, and violating its sovereignty.


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