By Staff Reporter
August 22, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Ethiopian Airlines has rejected reports that its passenger plane was denied landing at Kismayo airport in Jubbaland of the breakaway region of Somalia.
Last Monday, the BBC, Reuters and other international media outlets reported that Kismayo airport in southern Somalia refused to allow an Ethiopian passenger jet to land.
"The aircraft was refused to land because it did not notify the Kismayo airport authorities in advance of the landing, Reuters quoted an airport employee named Ismael as saying
The passenger plane which took off from Gode airport in south-eastern Ethiopia had eventually landed in the Somali town of Baidoa. It was not certain if the aircraft was civilian or military.
“The plane wanted to land at Kismayo airport but was denied clearance because it did not send information in advance,” Reuters was told.
The BBC however reported that there were 90 soldiers on board.
Corporate Communication manager of the Ethiopian airlines Asrat Begashaw said all aircraft that take off from and land in Ethiopia are not the property of the Ethiopian airlines. "We don't know about the airplane in question and it is not our business," he added.
The landing of the passenger airplane in Baidoa reportedly came amid heightened tensions between the federal government and the regional leadership ahead of elections in Jubbaland.
Somalia’s central government said it would not recognize the result of an upcoming vote to elect the president of Jubbaland, a key battleground state for counter-terrorism operations, saying the candidate selection process violated the national constitution.
Security analysts say the spat can cause friction between neighboring countries Kenya and Ethiopia, long-time allies each with significant numbers of peacekeepers in the Horn of Africa nation.
The government of Kenya supports the autonomous region Jubaland while Ethiopia and the UN has not accepted the autonomy of Jubaland and Somaliland.
Incumbent Jubbaland President Ahmed Mohamed Madobe, who is seeking re-election, is a key security partner for Kenya, while Ethiopia has grown closer to the federal government in Mogadishu.