Major Airlines Cancel Mogadishu Flights Amid Threat Alert

View across Mogadishu Airport, Somalia
Photo Credit: Axmadyare, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Travelers flying into Mogadishu, Somalia are facing disruptions after three major airlines cancelled their flights due to heightened security concerns.

So far, Turkish Airlines, flydubai and Qatar Airways have suspended flight services to Mogadishu as a precautionary measure.

US Security Alert

The cancellations follow a security threat alert issued by the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi for 9 April. The alert includes a level-four ‘do not travel’ advisory for Somalia.

The alert has come amid intelligence reports of possible attacks by the militant group al-Shabaab.

“All movements of U.S. Embassy personnel have been canceled for Tuesday, April 9, 2024,” the US security alert said.

The alert added, “The U.S. Department of State level-four travel advisory (“do not travel”) for Somalia remains in effect due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health issues, kidnapping, and piracy.”

Mogadishu Airport Confirms Cancellations

Officials at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport (MGQ) confirmed that Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, and flydubai all cancelled their scheduled flights for Tuesday, April 9th.

Officials haven’t revealed the details of the security threat, but it’s understood that today’s warning comes after a mortar attack near the presidential palace on Monday evening.

Apart from the alert issued by the U.S Embassy, it does not appear as though the Federal Government of Somalia has issued a formal warning at the time of writing.

Al-Shabaab Militant Group

Al-Shabaab, which translates to “the youth” in Arabic, is a Sunni Islamist militant group based in Somalia with a presence in East Africa. Here’s a breakdown of the group:

  • Origins and Ideology: Formed in the mid-2000s, it emerged from the Islamic Courts Union. They aim to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state in Somalia and adhere to a strict interpretation of Sharia law.
  • Alliances: Al-Shabaab pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2012 and has suspected ties with other jihadist groups.
  • Activities: The group engages in violent insurgency within Somalia, fighting against the Somali government and the African Union peacekeeping force. They are also responsible for terrorist attacks in Somalia and neighboring countries, targeting civilians, government officials, and aid workers.

Travelers Advised to Stay Informed

Anyone planning to travel to Mogadishu in the coming days is advised to stay informed about the latest developments.

They should contact their chosen airline directly to confirm the status of their flights.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
3 Min Read
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