New York Times obtains recording revealing Qatari complicity in Somalia attack

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A businessman linked to the Qatari Emir told Qatar’s ambassador to Somalia that an extremist attack carried out in May was done to advance Doha’s interests in the country against the United Arab Emirates, an audio recording obtained by the New York Times revealed.

According to the New York Times report, Khalifa Kayed al-Muhanadi tells Qatari ambassador Hassan bin Hamza Hashem that “the bombings and killings, we know who are behind them.”

Al-Muhanadi says the attack was done in order “to make Dubai people run away from there. “Let them kick out the Emiratis, so they don’t renew the contracts with them and I will bring the contract here to Doha,” al-Muhanadi said.

During the phone call, the Qatari businessman can be heard telling his country’s diplomatic representative in the country that he is connected to the president of Somalia and would help in transfer contracts UAE-owned DP World onto Qatar.

Dubai state-owned port operator DP World launched last October a $101 million project to expand a port in the breakaway region of Somaliland. Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 and has acted as a de-facto independent state since then but is not internationally recognized.

Gunmen shot and killed a DP World manager in Somalia’s semiautonomous region of Puntland in February, with the al-Shabab militant group claiming responsibility for the attack according to Reuters.

When contacted by the New York Times, the Qatari ambassador denied he knew al-Muhanadi and cut the phone call short. Al-Muhanadi, however, told the New York Times that he was school friends with the ambassador.

“I am a retired man and a trader … I do not represent any government,” al-Muhanadi was quoted as saying.

Last April, the UAE ended its mission to Somalia after an incident that saw Somali soldiers board an Emirati airplane at the Mogadishu airport, assault its soldiers at gunpoint and confiscated $9.6 million.
Relations between Somalia and the UAE had been strained over the ongoing diplomatic crisis engulfing Qatar, the Associated Press reported at the time. Somalia’s government remained neutral in the conflict despite the Saudi and Emirati stance in denouncing Doha.

“Just talk to our friends from the simple people of Somalia,” al-Muhanadi tells the Qatari ambassador, according to the audio recording obtained by the New York Times. “They know that the Emiratis are responsible for destruction.”