In a highly coloured cloak-and-dagger narrative to the Arabic Post (Tuesday, 10 September), worthy of the finest as among tall stories, a never-heard-of militia, calling itself the Free Somaliland Army (FSA), claimed responsibility for a mobile harbour crane (MHC) which caught fire at the port while in operation on Thursday, September 5.
The incident was attributed to an electrical malfunction, and nothing of the nature the so-called FSA is claiming was even remotely suspected, making this group’s claim a figment of a deranged mind’s imagination.
The Dubai-owned international ports manager, DP World, deployed three multimillion-dollar cranes at the Red Sea port of Berbera in March this year. DP World formally took over the port management in late 2017.
Of late, many elements, including Somalia (Mogadishu & Garowe), had been showing signs of envy for the stability and high degree of relative development Somaliland has enjoyed for the past 28 years contrasting the woes, fears and constant struggle with fringe armed groups Somalia was beset with during the same period.
Somalia and one of its federal states, Puntland, had even helped a tribal militia it trained and equipped slip back to the mountainous region of Sanaag in the east of the country.
Puntland, also, had made a grave, pointed accusations against Somaliland linking with Al Shabaab – a group that is virtually unknown in Somaliland – as is piracy.
See the full story as reported below. As one reads the disjointed claims presented, one realizes how far-fetched the claim is. For instance, the report contends two cranes were burned down to ashes when only one was damaged by a fire that started from the bottom engulfing it quickly within minutes.
Separatist movement gives two weeks to leave after targeting one of its ports (crane)
The Free Army of Somaliland (Somaliland) has announced the official adoption of a deliberate sabotage operation that targeted Thursday, September 5, 2019, the port of Berbera, managed by DP World, after signing an official agreement with the Government of Somaliland and Ethiopia, concerning the port of Berbera. In March 2018, the agreement grants 51% to DP companies, 30% to Somaliland and 19% to Ethiopia.
The FSA infiltrated covertly and secretly to the port, which is estimated at five, according to the spokesman of the Free Army in Somaliland, Said Haiba, in exclusive statements to «Arab Post», pointing out that those elements of the army The FSA succeeded in planting explosive devices in three of the cranes operating in the port
This caused the burning of two cranes completely, and damaged the third, which is estimated at a price of five million dollars, according to the assertions of the spokesman of the Free Army, saying that the deliberate sabotage is part of a series of attacks that will target the UAE interests and installations on Somaliland.
14 days in front of Abu Dhabi to withdraw its employees from the port of Berbera
The FSA has given the Abu Dhabi government 14 days to withdraw and manage its staff at the port of Berbera, an estimated 120 employees, the majority of whom are Indian nationals, each paid $ 500 a month.
He noted that the Free Army was keen through the operation that targeted the port of Berbera, not to directly target the port with shells or artillery, in order to avoid the absence of casualties among the staff and workers, which made him enter undercover elements into the port to carry out the operation, stressing that the operation It aims to convey a strong message to the UAE government that its presence is not welcome and that it must leave the country.
The FSA also called on the UAE to withdraw its presence at the base, the military airport and the other alternative port from the port of Berbera, which includes Emirati elements, near the port of Berbera, where it is 25 km away.
FSA spokesperson Saeed Haiba warned in an exclusive interview with Arab Post that all UAE interests are permissible and will continue to be targeted if the Abu Dhabi government and the current government of Somaliland, led by President Musa Behe, do not yield, pointing out that the FSA gives a deadline. 14 days for the Emiratis and the current government.
«Emirati influence» is one of the reasons for the revolution in the country
The presence of the UAE in Somaliland is not welcomed by the people, not even from political, military and security figures in the country, as the expansion of the UAE’s influence in their country, especially the agreement that granted Abu Dhabi the right to exploit the vital port of Berbera is one of the reasons for the revolution, according to the assertions of the military spokesman Free Happy Prestige.
The rebels, known as the Free Army, who threaten to secede, are opposed to the current government of Somaliland, led by President Musa Behe, politically and economically backed by the Abu Dhabi government.
They are most angry with the tripartite agreement signed between Somaliland and DP World and Ethiopia on the port of Berbera in March 2018.
Separatist groups in the Somaliland region, which move under the name of the Free Army, are estimated to have 10,000 troops, sources familiar with the crisis told the Arab Post, many of whom split from the formal army of Somaliland’s government, establishing the so-called “army.” Free.
Others from outside the army also announced their joining, in protest against what they called the “suspicious tendencies” practiced by the country’s government, especially with regard to the introduction of Dubai Port Company to the port of Berbera, and the UAE plan to establish an alternative port for the port of Berbera, in addition to a camp and airport serving Abu Dhabi The area is 25 km from the official port of Berbera.
The insurgents fear that the powers given to the UAE would violate the country’s sovereignty, said rebel leader Saeed Haiba.
Fierce battles and fighting are still going on between the Somaliland government army and opponents led by General Mohamed Otum and backed by General Said Jama, one of the most prominent separatist leaders.
The separatists are active in three important regions:
Sanaag province: the capital city of Irigabo, and this region is the most important province of the opposition forces, and the so-called «Free Army» in the country.
The second region is Togdheer and its capital is Bourou, the second capital of the country.
The third region is the territory of Sool, with its capital city Las Anod.
The FSA has set six basic requirements and conditions, as follows:
1. Power-sharing between the “separatist” opposition and the current government.
2 – Sharing the influence and economic wealth of the country between separatists and the government.
3- Expelling UAE companies outside the country, especially DP World from Somaliland.
Preventing any future foreign or foreign interference in the affairs and administration of the country.
5. Providing justice and equality among all categories of people.
6. Freedom of opinion and expression and freedom from press and opinion writers.
The coming period will witness a major escalation
Somaliland will witness a major escalation against the official forces of the Somaliland government loyal to the UAE, as pointed out by Saeed Hiba, a leader and spokesman for the “separatist” Free Army, stressing that his army began to enter large quantities of light and medium weapons, through the support of external forces.
These weapons included automatic rifles, launchers, cannons, medium machine guns, large quantities of ammunition, communications equipment and night-time binoculars, in preparation for the next phase of the conflict, which the official army will enter the country to protest against its policies, especially those loyal to the Abu Dhabi government.
He calls on the international community, the United Nations and the European Union to speed up official intervention to resolve the current crisis, by sending a UN committee to monitor the situation in northern Somalia, and to stand on the interference of the UAE government in the affairs of his country, and seek to prevent and stop this interference.
He also appealed to the international community to intervene to sponsor a referendum that would give the people of Somaliland the option of either continuing the current situation under the leadership of the current government or handing over the country in preparation for free and fair elections under international auspices guaranteeing the right of the people to run their country. And stop any external interference against his country.