Somalia retakes control of its own airspace
The Somali government has retaken control of the country’s airspace for the first time in more than two decades.
The United Nations has controlled air traffic over Somalia since 1992, a year after the country’s civil war broke out. However, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo made reclaiming his country’s airspace a priority after coming into power at the start of 2017.
Somali reclaims airspace
President Farmajo says Somali reclaiming control of its own airspace shows how much progress the country is making.
We are here today because we’ve worked together, stopped fighting among ourselves, we fought division,” he said. “As you know, nothing will work if there is division and people are fighting among themselves. Today we have continuity. We are building on other things and strengthening and making an effort achieving things for the country.”
Operating from inside neighbouring Kenya, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which is a United Nations agency has been the authority over Somali’s airspace since 1992.
Last year, the ICAO set out heavy restrictions on Somali’s airspace that would be put in place if the country decided to take control of things for itself. The agency cited safety concerns as the reason but critics argued the organisation had financial motives as many of the restrictions were placed on routes that don’t yet exist.
Regardless of the ICAO’s intentions, President Farmajo was resilient and fought to bring control back to Somalia. The president also had a warning for the militant groups operating in Somalia.
“To those who are against peace, Somalia is moving forward, and it’s not going to stop for anyone,” he said. “We are building the army and day after day they are getting better. We are telling you to stop what you are doing, killing your people. Come back to your people so that you can take part in rebuilding the country.”
Featured image: By Axmadyare – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42292666