Somalia federal government should have blocked a private aircraft from Kenya that landed Kismayo Airport despite the ban imposed by Mogadishu, a senior government official has said.
The federal government of Somalia filed a complaint at the International Civil Aviations Authority in Canada, accusing Kenya of violating airspace rules.
In filing a complaint with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the UN’s specialised air transport regulator, the Somali Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) claimed Kenya had violated its airspace after a plane left Nairobi and flew directly to Sayid Mohammed Hassan International Airport, informally known as Kismayu Airport, in Kismayu, the capital of Jubbaland state.
SCAA Director-General Ahmed Maalim claimed a directive exists that all planes from Kenya must first stop in Mogadishu before heading to Kismayu, an order imposed in September ostensibly to stop a planned inauguration ceremony for local state leader Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Madobe.
“It sounds like a smear campaign to portray Kenya as bad. But we aren’t bad, we are a law-abiding state. In fact, the responsibility to police aircraft movement in Somali airspace rests with the Somali government,” said a senior official discussing the matter on background.
According to him, the aircraft was not registered under any Kenya's government agency thus it was the responsibility of the Somalia government to intercept the plane instead of blaming Kenya.
The aircraft in question, a Fokker 50 registered in Kenya as 5Y-JXJ, flew out of Nairobi on Saturday and arrived in Kismayu directly without stopping in Mogadishu first. It is operated by Jubba Airways, a Somali airliner that routinely flies to several Somali cities.
“The aircraft belongs to a local Somali airline, not a Kenyan company. Somalia must put their house in order by first regulating their air operators. You cannot blame your downfall on another country,” argued Dr Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdisamad, a commentator on Horn of Africa politics.
“To protest to ICAO against your local airline is ridiculous. It is just a mockery,” he argued.
President Mohammed Farmaajo is at loggerheads with Madobe, who he claims that was forcefully installed as Jubaland President by the government of Kenya.
Last month, Jubaland postponed inauguration of Sheikh Madobe, following banning of direct flights to Kismayo Airport. The move has irked the former Ras Kamboni Brigade commander who has vowed to hit back.
Those on board are said to be senior former government officials from various states in Somalia who are set to attend Sheikh Madobe's inauguration. The date is yet to be announced.