Jump to navigation


Hassan Sheikh ups the ante in Ethiopia port dispute

Somalia has signed a defence agreement with Turkey to protect its coastline and provide training and support to its naval force

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's promise that his country would 'defend itself' if neighbouring Ethiopia goes ahead with a controversial port deal with breakaway province Somaliland has further upped the ante in the bitter dispute between the two Horn of Africa countries.

Ethiopia struck an agreement with Somaliland in early January to lease 20km of coastline in Somaliland, where it has plans to set up a naval base, in exchange for possible recognition of Somaliland's statehood (AC Vol 65 No 2, Why Abiy and Muse signed a 'memorandum of misunderstanding').

The dispute was barely addressed by other leaders at the African Union summit in mid-February, despite ugly scenes when Hassan Sheikh found himself blocked by security guards in Addis Ababa when trying to enter the secure zone to access the summit.

Ahead of the gathering in the Ethiopian capital, the Somali foreign ministry stated that 'there is no space for mediation unless Ethiopia retracts its illegal MoU and reaffirms the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia'.

Hassan Sheikh's government has the support of the United States and Europe, arguing that the port agreement could be used by Al Shabaab in its recruitment efforts.

However, on 19 February, the day after the AU summit concluded, Somalia signed its own defence agreement with Turkey, a 10-year deal under which Ankara will help defend Somalia's coastline and provide training and other assistance to its naval force.

Related Articles

An imperial palace in the Yeka hills

Prime Minister Abiy's plan for a government complex overlooking Addis Ababa could cost over $10 billion even as the economy limps along

When Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power five years ago, he said his mother had prophesied that he would be the seventh king of Ethiopia. Many were puzzled by this claim. Haile...

Taking Amhara to Washington

Loyalists to Abiy Ahmed turned dissidents take their case to the US capital to lobby Congress and the Biden administration

The ultra-nationalist Amhara Fano Unity Council (AFUC) led by Fano militia leader Mihret Wodajo is stepping up its political advocacy in the United States after registering lobbyi...

Aydeed again

With the biggest funds and armouries, Aydeed is back on the offensive

By capturing Hoddur town in mid-January, General Mohamed Farah Hassan 'Aydeed' put himself back in the game. His forces now threaten Beled Weyne, which they lost in October 1994. A...

Another Kenya army base hit

The Kenya Defence Force suffered a devastating blow at the hands of Al Haraka al Shabaab al Mujahideen on 27 January when the jihadists overran an army base at Kulbiyow (sometimes ...