The Djibouti government on Friday denied accusations that it had diverted a Turkish Airlines carrying a top Somalia security official, even as Mogadishu claimed he had been illegally detained.
Earlier on Friday, Somalia accused neighbouring Djibouti of illegally detaining its former spy chief who was in transit from Turkey.
President Mohamed Farmaajo’s spokesman, Abdirashid M Hashi, said the former intelligence chief Fahad Yasin was being held by authorities in Djibouti City.
“The Federal Republic of Somalia condemns unlawful detention of National Security Adviser to HE Mohamed Farmaajo, by the Djibouti authority at the Djibouti airport. Such acts will not help strengthen our ties between our governments,” Hashi said on Twitter.
However, Djibouti’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf said the aircraft did not proceed to Mogadishu due to technical problems.
“Today’s Turkish Airlines flight scheduled to Mogadishu did not take off from Djibouti due to technical problems according to the company (one of the pilots did have the special authorisation to land in Mogadishu),” Youssouf said in a short statement on Twitter.
“All passengers onboard today’s Turkish flight to Mogadishu will go back to Istanbul to embark on another flight to Mogadishu.”
Yasin was the director of the National Intelligence Security Agency (NISA) until last week when he resigned and was immediately redeployed as a special adviser to the President.
But he left behind a continual spat between President Farmaajo and his Prime Minister Hussein Roble.
Roble, who had initially suspended Yasin over alleged mishandling of the murder of a spy agent, was on Thursday deprived of powers to appoint or dismiss officials, something he promptly rejected.
On Thursday, Farmaajo accused Roble of violating the constitution, infringing on rights of the military and making decisions without consulting the President. Roble rejected the accusation, saying he will defy it because the President’s term technically expired in February.
Somalia should have held polls by then, but wrangling over the election model delayed the polls.