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Monday, September 9, 2013

Britons stranded in Somaliland as Ethiopian Airline flights cease

(Medeshi) - There are more than 400 passengers from UK that are stranded in Hargeisa and are not able to fly back to Britain because the Ethiopian Airlines has suddenly ceased flying to Somaliland . Many of these stranded families have kids that are supposed to be back to school in the UK.

Neither the Somaliland government nor the Ethiopian Airlines have commented on the sudden stoppage of the flights , but local sources have confirmed to us that the reason is mainly security matters . One source has sighted that an Ethiopian Intelligence officer who has been killed in Dhunbluq area of Hargeisa few weeks ago while others said that there are tall building that surround the airport and snipers could use those building to attack the airline. Other security issues include  the unfinished fencing of the airport.
An option for the Ethiopian Airline to continue its flights to Somaliland was the usage of the Berbera airport , but that option has been denied by the Somaliland government, according to the sources.
The sudden exit of Genel oil exploration company adds concerns to the security issues in the country . Just few days ago a suicide bomber has killed 20 people at a restaurant in Mogadishu , the capital of Somalia. Genel staff have on many occasions been confronted and on one occasion attacked in east of Burao.

No one knows why Somaliland government has failed to facilitate the return of these passengers to their destinations or give them more information about the reasons behind the delay/stoppage of the Ethiopian Airline flights.
Lots of the relatives of the stranded passengers are very anxious about the situation of their relatives who are stranded in Somaliland . Some of these passengers have exhausted all monies and may not be able to buy new return tickets to UK. Others have traveled to Addis Ababa by road to arrange for flights back home from there .
Somaliland seceded from Somalia in 1991 but is not yet recognised by any country . The country has since had two presidential elections , one parliamentary election and three local (Municipality )  elections . It has its own currency , flag ,army and police force.
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Video: Angry and stranded people in Hargeisa , Somaliland

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