Qatar recording on Bossasso terror attack must be investigated – UM

President Farmajo and Emir of Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad. Photo courtesy: Google

Mogadishu (UM) – The New York Times report that a Qatari businessman close to the Emir and the Qatari Ambassador to Somalia Hassan bin Hamza were discussing a terrorist attack in Bosaso to advance Qatari interest over Emirati one is disturbing and dangerous. The New York Times revelation bases its report on a telephone recording between the businessman and Ambassador and to date the Qatari Government has not denied the authenticity of the recording. The Somali security services should request to hear this recording and the New York Times should make it public for all to hear anyway. Defeating terrorism in Somalia is a global public interest which will save lives and make the world safer.

The Somali Government is struggling with defeating terrorism and rebuilding the state with the regular violence terrorist inflict. Somalia and its partners are spending money and spilling blood to make Somalia secure from terrorism. The Somali people have paid a huge price and live in fear because of terrorism. The Somali security forces and AMISOM are trying their best but yesterday’s terror attack in Mogadishu proved they still have a long way to go. The war on terror is still on and Somalia remains a front line. Therefore the Somali government should take the allegations made in the New York Times article seriously and investigate it to see what happened and what it means. If Qatar or Qataris are openly discussing supporting their “Friends” to carry out attacks on Somali soil, then the Somali Government and international community should be worried. If it is proven that Qatar actually did support terrorist activities for any reason, it should be designated an official state sponsor of terror and Somalia should cut all ties with it. Somalia must not brush this issue under the carpet and should re-assess its neutral stance if the State of Qatar is hurting its security. Somalia can’t be a place for Arab proxy wars: it is Somali people dying not rich Arabs.

The Qatari Government must be honest about this recording and share all information with the Somali government. At the very least the businessman and Ambassador Hassan Bin Hamza must be investigated for what they discussed over the phone. Who are these “friends” of Qatar who the businessman claimed carried out the attack in Bosaso? What did Ambassador Hassan Bin Hamza know? The answers to these questions are important for future bilateral relations with Qatar which has few friends in the Arab world now because of this similar accusations.

It could be the case that greedy, and corrupted businessmen and civil servants who think no one is watching are hurting Somali-Qatari relations to further their own private interest on both sides. If this is so, they must be jointly investigated and prosecuted by both Governments. This includes Ambassador Hassan in Hamza and his businessman friend.

The Somali Government can no longer ignore serious breaches of diplomatic protocols and assaults on its sovereignty by foreign powers. If Qatar is really a friend to Somalia,  it will honestly provide answers to the Somali Government. If they can’t, they should leave Somalia.