Somalia has apologized to the UAE for seizing $9.6 million in money from a private jet at Mogadishu airport in 2018.
The country’s prime minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble, stated in a video posted on Facebook that the money, which the UAE said was intended for training Somali military, would be returned as soon as possible.
The money’s seizure triggered a diplomatic spat between the two countries, with Somali officials claiming the funds were intended to “destabilize” the conflict-torn country at the time.
“I’d also like to clarify the dark period that transpired between Somalia and the UAE here at this airport in April 2018,” Roble added, speaking from Mogadishu airport.
“We want to admit that we were wrong and ask our brothers [UAE] for forgiveness.” We’re two brothers, so whatever has happened, let’s move on.”
The UAE closed a military training center and a hospital in Mogadishu as a result of the 2018 conflict.
Roble expressed hope that the apology will help to repair relations, and commended the UAE for giving aid to Somalia in the face of a drought that is affecting many Somalis.
Following three seasons of inadequate rainfall with a fourth on the way, the United Nations warned last month that roughly one in four people in Somalia are experiencing acute famine as a result of the drought.
In 2022, roughly 7.7 million people, or nearly half of Somalia’s population of 15.9 million, will require humanitarian relief and protection, up 30% from the previous year.