Ethiopian Airlines closes Somaliland office for ‘insecurity’

March 7, 2009

HARGEISA, Somalia Mar 4 (Garowe Online) – Ethiopian Airlines closed its office in Somalia’s separatist republic of Somaliland after the breakaway government was unable to implement required security arrangements, Radio Garowe reports.

The decision by Ethiopian Airlines follows the Oct. 2008 suicide bombings that killed 20 people in Hargeisa, Somaliland’s regional capital.

The Ethiopian trade office in Hargeisa was one of three targets the suicide bombers attacked, alongside the home of Somaliland President Dahir Riyale and the United Nations office.

Ethiopian Airlines suspended its operations following the attack and proposed to the Riyale administration a number of security improvements, including a fence around Egal International Airport and metal detectors.

Insiders said the Somaliland administration failed to implement the required security improvements, prompting Ethiopian Airlines to close its airport office and move the equipment to the trade office, also located in Hargeisa.

The Riyale administration has not responded to the Ethiopian Airlines decision. Ethiopian Airlines has been flying into Hargeisa’s Egal International Airport for years.

Somaliland is a breakaway region in northwestern Somalia. Although the region enjoys a functioning government and relative stability, it has not been recognized internationally.

Source Garowe