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Flights delayed in Somalia as airlines accuse NISA of sabotage

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Flights were temporarily delayed in Somali on Tuesday following protests are the Aden Adde International Airport which is the country's most dependable airport that serves millions of people per year, and which is almost the main source of domestic revenue.

Travelers remained stranded after reports emerged that one of the airlines had been suspended by the National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA] from flying to Dolow, a town within the Gedo region, which has been witnessing high octane politics for the past few months.

The crisis in the border region sparked following a strained relationship between the Federal Government led by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Jubaland leader Ahmed Islam Mohamed known as [Ahmed Madobe].

But last month, the two leaders solved their differences and pledged to work together after a meeting which was held in Mogadishu. The two parties had been wrangling over Jubaland polls that were held in August 2019 and the subsequent deployment of the Somali National Army [SNA] to the region.

NISA's move sparked several airlines to halt their domestic flights in protest against the ban on one airline that was allegedly found to violating directives. The strike caused disruptions at Aden Abdulle International airport [AAIA].

Protestors accused the spy agency NISA of unfairly targeting businesses to settle political scores with others calling for diligence in the management of the country's internal affairs. The protests subsided following intervention by the police who man the international airport.

Although the airline that had been profiled by NISA was not immediately established, giant aviation companies suspended flights to Gedo in protest against the spy agency's actions. No reason was immediately put in relation to the agency's actions, which are after all synonymous.

After the talks between the CEOs and aviation authorities, the airline firms agreed to resume their operations later in the day, transporting all passengers to their destinations in withing the country. 

In recent months, the Federal Government of Somalia has been accused of using NISA to settle political scores, a claim which the Mogadishu administration has often denied. The agency is headed by one Fahad Yasin, a former Al-Jazeera journalist and a close ally of Farmajo.

Politicians have often called for his replacement but Farmajo has rarely spoken about the predicaments of his "Mr. Fix It". The suspension of the flights by the airline also comes amid reports that the agency had deployed some of her officers in Gedo for unknown political and security expedition.

The Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF] have been working closely with the SNA and NISA agents in the region, a move that has often triggered tensions and at times, clashes. For instance, there have been several instances of clashes between Jubaland security forces and SNA in the region.

Elsewhere, footage has emerged of one Hussein Hosh, who runs an airline cargo service at the Aden Added International Airport, being roughed up by the police. The incident also took place on Tuesday and the reason behind the attack has not yet been established.

The airport, also known as Mogadishu Airport, services millions of Somalis and other visitors annually. It's under the surveillance of the Africa Union Mission Forces, who have been leading the peacekeeping mission in the Horn of Africa nation for the last 14 years due to the emergence of the Al-Shabaab militants.