Somalia accuses northern region of disrupting airspace

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia has rebuked the northern region of Somaliland for what it called 'unwarranted' disruptions of its airspace, in what could trigger yet another conflict, in the middle of simmering tensions within the Horn of Africa.

Somaliland broke away from Somalia but it has never been internationally recognized and remains part of Somalia’s terrorism integrity and sovereignty. The prolonged conflict has escalated in recent times, following Somaliland’s deal with Ethiopia, which will see the latter get a portion of the Red Sea.

On Monday, the Somali Civil Aviation Authority said it had taken tougher measures to control the country's airspace. This action, it noted, follows the disruption of air traffic services over specific areas in the northern regions, deemed a violation of domestic and international aviation regulations.

The SCAA expresses concern that these disruptions were initiated by the administration of the northwest regions, potentially motivated by "external influences and self-serving interests." It did not mention entities believed to be behind disruptions.

According to the Somali government, it has consistently issued warnings and notifications to uphold flight safety, urging cooperation from the regional administration. However, these warnings have reportedly been disregarded, the statement reads.

"The Somali government remains committed to ensuring the safety and security of its airspace," stated the SCAA in a press release.

"We have proactively issued warnings and notifications to all relevant parties, including the international community. Unfortunately, the regional administration has not responded as expected."

The SCAA emphasized that further actions may be necessary to safeguard Somali Civil Aviation. "The Somali government will have to take tougher measures to ensure the security and the safety of Somali Civil Aviation," they said.

Last month, Somalia’s civil aviation authority changed the channel of communication with airlines using Somalia airspace after reporting “VHF interference [on frequency] within the vicinity of Hargeisa” as a source put it.

Flights within the area have been informed not to expect level change unless they are in contact with Mogadishu via datalink, the source said. The protracted tensions have caught the attention of the international community, which is pushing for dialogue between Ethiopia and Somalia.

GAROWE ONLINE

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