UAE Twitter users attack Somali leader over port deal

UAE Twitter users have launched an attack on Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi

UAE Twitter users attack Somali leader over port deal

Twitter feud

March 10, 2018 – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Twitter users have launched an attack on Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo following the recent signing of a 1bn-dollar port deal in the self-declared Somaliland state.

The diplomatic row was triggered by the signing of the Berbera Port between Somaliland, the UAE logistics company DP World and Ethiopia. The Somali government rejected the agreement claiming it violated the country’s unity and constitution. It termed the pact as “null and void”.

The UAE social media users, tweeting mainly in Arabic, used the hashtag #FarmajoTearingSomaliaApart to condemn the protest letter Somalia sent to the Arab League on 8 March seeking its intervention in the Berbera tripartite deal that gave stakes to the three parties involved.

In the letter, the government accused UAE of undermining the country’s sovereignty by signing a deal with self-declared Somaliland to develop the Berbera Port in partnership with Ethiopia. UAE Twitter users propaganda in Arabic

“Somalia has become a safe haven for extremists,” UAE’s Twitter user Matar al Ka’abi @Matar4042 posted. The tweet is accompanied by a photo of Farmajo’s face with a red cross on it.

Another poster appears on the same Twitter account showing a picture of Farmajo. Behind him are what it seems to be two members of the group known as Islamic State (IS) holding a monochrome flag, which has become a symbol of IS.

The poster in Arabic has several headlines: “Da’esh in Somalia under the auspices of Farmajo”; “Somali President Farmajo cooperates with terrorists”; “Terrorist works: Attacks in Puntland, US drone attacks” and “Farmajo’s collaboration: Facilitating passage of terrorists, allowing arrival of foreign fighters from Syria and Iraq.”

The “verified” account of Khalid Bin Dahi @KH_KDK posted a video with the headline in Arabic: “Somalia and President Farmajo : A tragedy that is ripping the country apart.”

The video clip shows images of malnourished children, as well as scenes of chaos on what seems to be the aftermath of the 14 October 2017 massive blast caused by a truck bombing in Mogadishu.

A screen caption in Arabic read: “The Somali citizen has become a victim of the attacks and terrorism during President Farmajo’s times.” Another one reads: “Farmajo promised Somalis a better life. However, they did not see anything”, while another one says: “Farmajo arrested 30 journalists, 18 politicians and closed 90 media outlets.”

The video follows with an image of the White House saying: “The US ended its aid to Somalia because of Farmajo’s failures.”

Another image of what it seems al-Shabab militants follows with a screen caption: “Da’esh terrorist group spreads in Somalia” followed by a picture of Farmajo with the caption: “Farmajo expresses his desire for political negotiations with terrorists”. The video appears to be broadcast by a fake TV channel called Al-Ayn al-Ikkhbariyya.

Another “verified” account of so-called Forsan UAE @Forsan_UAE posted a video saying: “Somali authorities are unlawfully detaining children, at times prosecuting them in military courts” and “the Somali government had promised to release the children promptly to UNICEF”.

The video refers to an 85-page report by Human Rights Watch released on 21 February on violations and abuses against Somali boys in government custody for suspected Al-Shabab-related links.

“Children of Somalia have become victims of the illegitimate greed of the Government of Farmajo, which has placed its country’s destiny at the disposal of its political and partisan goals at the expense of the security and stability of the Somali people,” another tweet posted by user Matar al ka’abi @Matar4042 reads.

A Somali Twitter user @Geeljire2Hot4U responded to his tweet: “Let’s all tweet #UAEOutOfSomalia. Those thugs are seizing our ports illegally and they’re so mad that the Somali Federal government spoke against their illegitimate deal to seize our ports and hired hackers. They’re actually doing us a favour, they’re uniting us.” Somali Twitter users’ reaction

Somali Twitter users launched a counter-attack using the hashtag #FarmajoUnifiesSomalia. They tweeted responses in both Arabic and English to defend President Farmajo.

“There’s clear evidence that #UAE is dangerous to #Somalia’s peace process. Dear beloved President @M_Farmaajo please kick these fat cats out of #Somalia #FarmajoUnifiesSomalia,” user @MDheeliye tweeted.

Another user @AlinorAbdi posted: “#SomeoneTellUAE that Somalia is a sovereign country and its people are 100 percent behind their leaders in face of their naked aggression and provocation. They might think we’re weak & powerless but a ‘wounded lion can still hunt cows’. We’re ready to teach these Arab half wits a lesson.”

“Let the world see that my President @M_Farmaajo cares and adores his people. The fake storm of #UAE means nothing but mark that Somalia has achieved progress #FarmajoUnifiesSomalia truly indicates how Somali people came together as a one to build strong nation with resources,” @A_Weber posted.

@muhsinhassan13 posted a picture of a smiling young boy at a beach in Somalia and another picture of the president holding another young boy. Muhsin tweeted: “#FarmajoUnifiesSomalia pictures of the hungry children that have spread recently are not pictures of the children of our country. This is a true picture of our children (Somalia).”
Source: BBC Monitoring in English, March 10, 2018
© 2018 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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