Govt criticized for banning armed guards accessing Mogadishu airport
MOGADISHU, Somalia - In what appears to be a stringent decision to streamline security in Somalia, the government has banned armed security guards from accessing the Aden Abdulle International Airport in Mogadishu, the country's capital city.
The Airport is one of the major foreign income earners for the Horn of Africa nation and is retarded one of the most secure entities in Somalia, a country which has been struggling with instability for over three decades due to endless clan wars and Al-Shabaab menace.
A directive by security ministry said only the President, Prime Minister, speakers of the Senate, and Lower House will be allowed to take armed guards into the airport. The government said the decision is aimed at improving the security of the airport.
Abdirahman Abdishakur, one of the leading presidential candidates has condemned the decision as "injustice" and another security pressure on the opposition figures.
For several years, the seaside Airport has been a major target for Al-Shabaab but the heavy presence of security forces in the facility has often helped to thwart sophisticated attacks targeting the airport. There is a heavy presence of AU Mission Forces outside the airport.
Previously, Al-Shabaab militants often used security loopholes to sneak to the airport and launch attacks but such incidents have significantly reduced in recent months. This now means even the MPs and other dignitaries ought to adhere to the latest directive by the government.
The Halane Base Camp which hosts the AMISOM and several diplomatic missions are located within the vicinity of the airport, further explaining the essence of having heavily armed security officers within the airport and its surrounding for the purpose of beefing up the security.
Somalia has struggled with instability for over 30 years and the situation is likely to escalate in the coming months due to ongoing differences over the planned elections. The country is yet to agree on the date for a number of local polls due to the standoff between the opposition and the government.