Somalia: Farmaajo's ally linked to importation of drones from Turkey
MOGADISHU, Somalia - A senior former Somali MP who is a close ally of outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, has been linked to the importation of drones to the country without due process, raising questions about the intent of the whole incident.
The controversial importation of drones comes at the time the United Nations Security Council extended the ban on Somalia's weapons, arguing that the country is not stable to purchase weapons without UN supervision.
A lot of speculations about the nature of the 3600 VTOL- MUGIN-2 drones imported by the Somali MP with ties to the Eritrean intelligence and a loud proxy of Farmaajo have been making rounds on social media. The MP was identified as Haji in the report.
Documents seen by The Garowe Online show the MP in question imported six sets of the drones each set costing $130,000. The immediate task for the drones, which are often used for aerial surveillance and attacks, was not immediately established.
The total cost of the drones amounted to $780,000, documents established. The official reason for the use of the drones given to the Turkish authorities is for agricultural use but the nature of the drones and the associated cost establish a nefarious intent.
Turkey’s Directorate of Civil Aviation Flight Operations Department cleared the export of the drones on October 7th this year. Ankara has often been accused of empowering the Somali government with weapons that authorities use to target innocent civilians.
The big question mark is on the intended use of the aircraft. The 2 leading theories are that the drones will either be used to house communication jammers, given their extended flight hours and huge payload capacity.
Or, experts argue, that the aircraft will be used as a suicide drone to target opposition leaders and to disrupt the election process. Whatever the true intent, it’s clear the MP who imported the drones did so at the behest of someone else and that its application wasn’t innocuous as claimed.
In October, Somalia's National Intelligence and Security Agency [NISA] seized the six drones at Aden Adde International Airport which were accompanied by two Turkish nationals. The purchaser, former Somalian MP, Zakariya Haji claimed the UAVs were for his agriculture company.
Using the images that were posted by the Somalian security agency, Intel Walrus tried to figure out the model and source of these drones. The disassembled parts bear a strong resemblance to those sold commercially by a company out of China calling itself MuginUAV.
Reports on that day indicated Mr. Haji, the former MP who purchased the UAVs, has demanded they be released to him and that they were intended for agriculture. However, the government has responded saying the purchases were illegal.
Farmaajo has been accused by his opponents of using the military to overstay in power, delaying elections for another year. The outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo has indicated that he will defend his seat in the coming days.