UAE to establish military base in Somalia


Somaliland’s parliament has approved the establishment of a naval base by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the port town of Berbera.

The approval was granted by a wide majority on 12 February, Associated Press reported, after the UAE sought approval in January.

The president of the breakaway region, Ahmed Silanyo, said the base would create jobs in Somaliland.

The UAE is seeking a naval presence in Berbera and the use of the local airport, originally built by Russians in the 1970s. It will likely use Somaliland as a base to attack Houthi fighters in Yemen. The UAE uses the port and airport at Assab in Eritrea for operations in Yemen.

The UAE’s ports operator DP World in September last year received a 30 year contract to manage the Berbera port. The region exports livestock to the Middle East. Nearby Djibouti recently annulled DP World’s terminal contract over corruption allegations.

The UAE base in Somaliland will apparently be owned by the Somaliland government after it expires after 25 years.