Somalia: Air travel restrictions on Jubaland draw fierce criticism

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The air blockade imposed on Jubaland state by the Federal Government of Somalia has provoked sharp criticism from local political parties, ex- leaders and regional state, Garowe Online reports.

A growing chorus of condemnation rose on Saturday after former Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has been blocked from traveling to Kismayo, Jubaland’s interim capital by authorities at Mogadishu International airport.

The Ex leader, who is currently the chair of Himilo Qaran political party was banned from Jubaland State President Ahmed Madobe's inauguration which is expected to take place in the southern port city on September 26.

Ahmed served as president of Somalia’s former Transitional Government between 2009 and 2012.

The opposition party has condemned the move as “violation of the human dignity and in violation of the provisional Somali constitution”, blaming the leaders of the Federal Government for “abusing the power” .

In "strongly worded statement" dated on 22 September, Puntland slammed government decision to impose air travel restrictions on Jubaland and blockade of the former Somali president who was denied access to fly to Kismayo.

As condemnations grow over the economic embargo on Jubaland, Somalia’s Civil Aviation Authority canceled all flights to Kismayo city for 3 days, starting from September 23 to 26, a move aimed to ruin Madobe’s inauguration.

Jubaland has denounced the travel ban and warned Mogadishu over potential “negative consequences” to Somalia's recovery efforts.

Meanwhile, the opposition Federal lawmakers in Mogadishu have joined in the condemnation of the government actions, and criticized the latest move to isolate Jubaland as “unconstitutional and political motivated”.

In addition, the MPs called on the Federal Government to reconsider its decision on Jubaland and desist from any desires of using similar tactics against the other Regional States.

Former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud accused the current Government of using the management of the air space as a political weapon that can have a serious ramification on the political stability and the unity of the country.

Leader of Somalia's Jubbaland has been at odds with Mogadishu won a third term in office following an election in Kismayo on 22 August. The Government called the election process unconstitutional said it rejected both contests.


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