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The trade of illegal weapons implicates senior government officials in Djibouti – Report (03.09.2018)

EXX Africa published a special report on the arms trade in the Horn of Africa.

LONDON, United Kingdom, September 3, 2018 – EXX Africa (EXXAfrica.com) published a special report on the arms trade in the Horn of Africa.

Download the report: bit.ly/2CcF7hr

The trade of illegal weapons implicates senior government officials in Djibouti, which suggests that the Doraleh port terminal, which is now under government control and suffers from porous customs checks, will increasingly be leveraged as an arms trade hub. However, the most significant flows of illegal weapons will continue to be moved in smaller dhows via the fishing communities in the south-east coast and via the Garacad port project.

So far, and over the past few years, the DP World operated Doraleh terminal was not used for arms trafficking. However, local intelligence suggests that the terminal, which is now under government control, may in future be leveraged as a processing center for the illegal arms trade.

There is some evidence that the Doraleh terminal will increasingly be used for the weapons trade. The Chairman of the Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority (DPFZA), Aboubaker Omar Hadi, is a close friend of Ali Abdi Aware, who is a three times presidential candidate of Puntland, as well as a very prominent businessman. They are jointly involved in a venture where Aware is personally in charge of former Yemen president Ali Abdallah Saleh’s bank CAC International. This bank is headquartered in Djibouti. Local intelligence suggests that Omar Hade helped with the registration of the bank and owns shares in it (“part of the investment components”). Moreover, Omar Hadi has established a bank branch in Bosaso that can launder money for underground institutions dealing with weapon imports from Yemen, as the bank hails from Yemen originally.

Aware is also very well established in the Guelleh government and he was the one who set up Puntland’s assistance to Djibouti donating 900 camels to Djibouti when it had an armed dispute with its Eritrean rival over the disputed Doumeira Islands. He also helped Djibouti secure an investment commitment for road construction from the Saudi government back in 2009 when late General Adde Muse Hersi was Puntland’s president.

Indeed, the trade in illegal weapons in Djibouti stretches t the highest echelons of the government. Local intelligence confirms that one company, which in the public version of this report will only be names as Company Z, is owned by the Guelleh family and handles arms trade. Company Z only deals with weapons imports into Somalia. Those same weapons are then often distributed to political factions backed by the government.

All this suggests that the Doraleh terminal will start to play a more prominent role in regional arms trafficking. Local intelligence suggests that the main port of Djibouti is not secure and that customs procedures are porous, which facilitates illegal shipments. Yet, since this terminal will remain one of Djibouti’s main import-export hubs, international scrutiny of cargo flows is high here, which will limit the port’s use as a weapons trade center. However, sources say that much of the illegal arms trade does not need to be moved through Djibouti’s main port. It is moved in smaller dhows via the fishing communities in the south-east coast.

Moreover, Djibouti is also now involved in the construction of Garacad Port. Djibouti became following a political disagreement with the Somali government with regards to the Eritrea-Ethiopia-Somalia rapprochement following the meeting between the Somali President and his counterpart Afewerki in Asmara. Djibouti are taking advantage of the Puntland disagreement with the Somali government here over the Garacad port. Prime Minister Hassan recently visited the region and was invited to the grand opening of the Garacad Project but refused to do so as the Somali government recently began the Hobyo port construction plan, only 90 km down the road.

There is a lot of tension between the Somali government and Djibouti over their involvement in this project. Local intelligence suggests that the Somali government is rightly worried about Djibouti using this as a base for moving weapons from the Gulf of Aden into Puntland and then onwards into Somalia proper (see previous comments on support for destabilising factions within Somalia such as al-Shabaab). Also, Garacad is a regional hotspot for weapons shipments landing, as it was pirate territory from 2008 – 2011. Boats disguised as fishing vessels still land there for smuggling purposes.

It is at Garacad that Djibouti plays its heaviest role in regional arms trafficking. The logistics, freight, and construction companies involved in the Garacad Port Project are often owned by senor Djibouti government officials and military officers. Most of the construction materials for the project will be transported overland from Djibouti or shipped to the coast off Garacad. There is ample opportunity here for weapons smuggling. Again, the UN Monitoring Group reports for this region include names of some entities which local intelligence suggests are still accurate.

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Republique de Djibouti: Djibouti Does Not Recognize the Arbitral Award Rendered by the London International Arbitral Court (03.08.2018)

DP World reiterates Validity of Doraleh Container Terminal Concession and Exclusivity Rights (12.07.2018)

Global trade enabler warns against violation or face legal action.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, July 12, 2018 –  DP World (web.DPWorld.com), reiterated today that its concession agreement for the Doraleh Container Terminal (DTC) remains in force, warning that the government’s illegal seizure of the facility doesn’t give the right to any third party to violate the terms of the concession agreement.

DP World statement came in the wake of news reports on the opening of the first phase of the Chinese-built International Free Trade Zone, in violation of DP World’s exclusive management rights.

A DP World Spokesperson said:“This is yet another clear example by the Djiboutian Government of violating its contractual obligations and the rights of foreign investors.”

The spokesperson warns that DP World reserves the right to take all available legal actions, including claims for damages against any third parties that interfere or otherwise violate its contractual rights.

On 22 February 2018, the Government of Djibouti unlawfully seized control of the Terminal, forced DP World employees to leave the country and purported to terminate the Concession Agreement. DP World has commenced an arbitration against the Government of Djibouti before the London Court of International Arbitration and is awaiting the outcome of this process

Public Notice to those Considering Building, Managing, or Operating a Port in Djibouti of the Validity of the Concession Agreement for the Doraleh Container Terminal in Djibouti (09.04.2018)

On 22 February 2018, the Government of Djibouti unlawfully seized control of the Terminal, forced DP World employees to leave the country and purported to terminate the Concession Agreement.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, April 9, 2018 – DP World Ltd. (web.DPWorld.com) hereby gives notice that the Concession Agreement to operate the Doraleh Container Terminal in Djibouti, which was awarded by the Government of Djibouti to Doraleh Container Terminal S.A., or DCT, a joint venture controlled by DP World, remains in full force and effect.  That Agreement conferred on DCT the right to operate the port, which it designed and built, and in turn DP World was mandated to manage the port. The Agreement also gave DCT and DP World exclusive rights to build and operate any other container ports and free zones in Djibouti.

The Concession Agreement was recently upheld as a valid and binding contract under English law by a distinguished tribunal of arbitrators (one a former member of the United Kingdom Supreme Court, another a member of the English Court of Appeal, and the third a leading Queens Counsel and independent arbitrator) under the auspices of the London Court of International Arbitration or LCIA, which rejected the Government of Djibouti’s attempt to rescind the Concession Agreement based on false allegations of corruption.  In a related proceeding an English High Court Justice agreed that the Concession Agreement had been a great financial success for Djibouti.

Nevertheless, on 22 February 2018, the Government of Djibouti unlawfully seized control of the Terminal, forced DP World employees to leave the country and purported to terminate the Concession Agreement.  The claimed termination is invalid under English law, and thus the Agreement remains in full force and effect.

DP World and DCT have commenced a new LCIA arbitration against the Government of Djibouti due to this unlawful seizure and purported termination.

There have been reports that the Government of Djibouti is contracting with other companies to build and operate other port facilities in Djibouti in violation of DP World and DCT’s exclusivity rights.

TAKE NOTICE THAT DP World and DCT are the lawful holders of rights in respect of the ownership and operation of the container shipping terminal at Doraleh, Djibouti, and will pursue all available legal recourse, including claims for damages, against any other entities that tortiously interfere or otherwise violate their rights with respect to the Concession Agreement.

Djibouti: Government adress the reasons for the DP World termination to the US (09.03.2018)

Government of Burundi will not take part in Peace-Talk with Opposition scheduled for Wednesday (Youtube-Clips)

“Burundi’s government will not take part in peace talks with the opposition scheduled for Wednesday, which are part of regional efforts to resolve a crisis triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term in office. Joseph Bangurambona, the permanent secretary in the foreign affairs ministry said his government holds some of the participants responsible for recent months of violence. VOA’s Vincent Makori reports” (TV2 Africa, 2016).

“During a trial of 28 police and military figures, former Burundi Defense Minister Cyrille Ndayirukiye has pleaded guilty to involvement in a failed coup last May” (TeleSur English, 2016).

“AU commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamin-Zuma held talks with the Tanzanian foreign affairs minister in Durban on Tuesday. They both discussed the current political crises in Burundi, tension has let to many civilians losing lives as the army and the protesters clashed in some parts of the capital city Bujubura. Dlamini-Zuma has raised concern about loss of life in that country. While Tanzanian foreign affairs minister says peace and stability must be pursed” (SABC Digital News, 2016).

Press Release: The African Union Welcomes the Resumption of the Inter-Burundian Dialogue and teh Reiterates its call to the Parties to Extend Full Cooperation to the Mediation (29.12.2015)

AU Burundi 29.12.15

Press release: The African Union and Djibouti sign MoU for the Deployment of a Second Djiboutian Battalion within AMISOM (04.06.2015)

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