x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UAE donates goods and services to Somalia

The Government has donated bullet-proof vehicles, police uniforms, ambulances and firefighters to Somalia.

DUBAI // The UAE Government has donated bullet-proof vehicles and police uniforms to Somalia, the country’s ambassador said on Monday.

The donation of five bullet-proof Nissan Patrols, two ambulances, two fire lorries and 5,000 police uniforms was received in Mogadishu last week.

“This donation is important to restore the peace and security in Mogadishu,” said Abdulkadir Al Hatimi, Somalia’s ambassador to the UAE.

“You need to have police in the streets and they have to be in uniform, but they have a lack of them and sometimes they don’t even have shoes, so they need these uniforms.”

He said the bullet-proof cars were to be used by ministers.

“Ministers have to be in a safe car,” Mr Al Hatimi said. “They are a target from the Al Shabab so bombs often happen in the streets of Mogadishu and a lot of ministers have been killed in the past.”

He said many Somali officials had been killed in cars. “This will definitely protect them.”

Ambulances and firefighting vehicles were equally needed in Somalia.

“If you live in a city like Dubai or Abu Dhabi and a fire happens and you don’t have a firefighter, what are you going to do?” Mr Al Hatimi asked.

“We don’t have any fire department and these are the first two we will have arriving from the UAE.”

He said Somalia was thankful for the UAE’s generous donation.

“We are very grateful for the UAE’s help,” Mr Al Hatimi said. “They are focusing mostly on humanitarian and education issues so they’re also now building a big field hospital to be completed in January.”

He said the UAE Government was also building schools across the country.

“This is needed because we have a lack of hospitals and schools. We don’t have that many at all,” Mr Al Hatimi said.

“The UAE promised to build another 10 hospitals in 10 big cities in Somalia and there’s a lot of work going on between both countries, focusing on education and health.”

Last September, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said a stable Somalia would be reflected in the strength and stability of the entire region.

In May, the UAE pledged to provide Dh183.6 million to enhance Somalia’s security capabilities, strengthen political cooperation and deliver humanitarian assistance.

cmalek@thenational.ae