ADDIS ABEBA – Kismayo airport in southern Somalia refused to allow an Ethiopian plane to land on Monday, Reuters news agency reported on Tuesday.
The move was reportedly in a protest of the federal government ahead of elections on Thursday.
Somalia’s central government said on Saturday it would not recognize the result of an upcoming vote to elect a president of Jubbaland, a key battleground state for counter-terrorism operations, saying the candidate selection process violated the national constitution.
A staff member at Kismayo airport told Reuters news agency said the plane took off from Gode in southeastern Ethiopia and eventually landed in the Somali town of Baidoa. It was not certain if the plane was civilian or military.
“It wanted to land at Kismayo airport but was denied clearance because it did not send information in advance,” the witness told Reuters.
Incumbent Jubbaland President Ahmed Mohamed Madobe, who is seeking re-election this week, is a key security partner for Kenya, while Ethiopia has grown closer to the federal government in Mogadishu in the last year, according to reports.