Over the past week, representatives of the Somaliland diaspora have expressed their outrage at the fact that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have cut a deal with authorities to develop a military base in the breakaway Somali territory.
After the news that the UAE planned to establish a base at the Berbera Port in the northern Somali territory, a group calling itself the Somaliland Diaspora Community in Ottawa, Canada, wrote a letter to the UAE’s mission in Canada on 28 February, expressing their outrage at the “illegal and dubious business” of the UAE setting up a base there.
The letter claimed that the Saudi-led war in Yemen was an “unreasonable war”, declaring that the establishment of a UAE base, which is allied to Saudi Arabia, would mean that Somaliland was declaring war on Yemen.
Apart from the letter, scores of people demonstrated outside the UAE embassy in London on Thursday in protest against the establishment of an Emirati military base in Somaliland.
Protesters carried banners in Arabic and English calling for an end to wars and for the funds to be redirected to aid projects rather than warfare, “Somaliland needs aid not military base.”
“We are not against the UAE. The Emirates and its people are our brothers. They’ve helped us throughout time,” a protester said.
“We don’t want to be dragged into a war. Our country is stable. We don’t care if someone is Shia or Sunni, we are all Muslim.”
“All we want is peace,” another explained, “but our government has sold land to the UAE for a military base so it can attack Yemen, but the people of Yemen are our brothers and we don’t want to be dragged into this war on them.”