Somali officials are said to have stopped a plane from the United Arab Emirates from leaving the country after Emirati military trainers on board refused to hand over their luggage to be scanned and searched.
The local news website reported on Saturday that Somali officials at Bosaso airport insisted that the “heavy bags” on the flight be checked, resulting in an hours-long standoff.
It added that talks were under way between Somali’s semiautonomous Puntland region and the UAE to end the dispute.
The UAE foreign ministry has not commented on the matter.
The news comes just days after Somalia’s government seized several bags of money carrying almost $10m from a plane that arrived at Mogadishu airport from Abu Dhabi.
The money was found in three unmarked bags on a Royal Jet plane, the Somali interior ministry said, adding it was investigating where it came from, where it was going and the individuals involved.
“The security forces noticed the suspicious bags and handed them over to the concerned departments,” Somalia’s security ministry said in a statement.
Responding to the Somali action, the UAE had accused the security forces of holding those on the plane “at gunpoint”, and said the cash had been allocated to support the Somali army and trainees.
“The current Somali government … is creating unnecessary tensions with a friend and an ally who supported the stability and security of Somalia during its hardest phases,” Anwar Gargash, UAE’s junior minister for foreign affairs, said on Twitter.
“We call for wisdom and reason”.