07/10/08 (B468) Shabelle : Le gouvernement de transition somalien affirme qu’il peut toujours utiliser l’aéroport de Mogadiscio, en dépit des menaces du Groupe d’Al Shabbab et des nombreuses attaques au mortier. Somali government says its officials can fly airport regardless threats (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

As Mogadishu airport is closed for the threats of Alshabab Islamist group Somali government and AMISOM officials normally use the airport as their planes land although mortars are attacked to airport at what time planes come.

The general director of Somalia’s foreign ministry Mohamed Jama Ali has announced that the planes carrying the government and AMISOM officials normally land Mogadishu airport saying that Alshabab have banned the airport from the only civilian flights.

“The government authorities fly out and land the airport at any time they want, the civilians are the only ones have been proscribed from their air travel not the government” Mr. Jama said.

He called for Alshabab to consent to airport to resume civilian flights since the government and AMISOM officials use it regardless their threats.

The government’s remarks come as several planes land and safely fly from the airstrip, but mortar shells fired by Alshabab when planes arrive caused no causalities but civilians death the response against those mortars.

A closure of Mogadishu airport would further complicate business in the troubled Horn of Africa country, where conflict, drought and rising food prices are also threatening a unprecedented humanitarian disaster.

Pirate attacks on ships bringing food aid and supplies by sea have further complicated the delivery of humanitarian relief.

Mogadishu international airport, which is located next to the capital’s main harbour, was closed in 1995 after peacekeepers who controlled the area for three years withdrew.

The main warlords who ruled the country then disagreed over the sharing of income generated by the airport.

It was rebuilt and reopened by the ICU on January 14, 2007. It closed briefly following an Ethiopian air raid jets in June last year.

The 12-year closure of Mogadishu airport led to the opening of a score of smaller airports, which are used notably for khat (mild narcotic leaf) trade and are controlled by militia.