HARGEISA – A senior member of Somaliland’s opposition party was barred from boarding a flight at Hargeisa’s Egal International Airport on Monday after he was caught using a diplomatic passport from Somalia.
Ismail Mahmud Huure, widely known as ‘Buubaa’, was headed to Nairobi on Wednesday when he showed his Somali diplomatic passport to immigration officials at the airport.
Immigration officials immediately confiscated Buubaa’s passport and barred from boarding the flight.
Buubaa spoke to reporters shortly afterward, describing the as incident ‘unfair’.
“I was headed to Nairobi for personal reasons. Egal International Aiport’s immigration officers unfairly barred me from boarding my flight,” Buubaa said.
Somaliland’s Minister of State for Security, Mohamed Muse Diriye told reporters on Monday that no exceptions will be made for Buubaa.
“Buubaa was caught using a diplomatic passport from Somalia. Although Buubaa was a former Somali diplomat, he is now a Somalilander politician, and we will not allow any politician in our country to use Somalia’s passport,” Diriye said.
“Even if he was a member of the ruling party Kulmiye, we still wouldn’t allow him to fly with that passport,” Diriye said.
Buubaa served as the Republic of Somaliland’s inaugural Finance Minister in 1991, right after the country dissolved its union with Somalia.
A few years later, Buubaa renounced his support for an independent Somaliland and embarked on a political career Somalia.
He served as Somalia’s Foreign Minister from 2000-2002, during the beginning of Somalia’s transitional government. He was reappointed to the position in 2006 and served only for a year.
Buubaa returned to Somaliland in 2015 after a 20-year-long absence, after receiving a Presidential pardon from President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo. Buubaa renounced his unionist ideology upon his arrival and redeclared his support for an independent Somaliland. A few months after returning to Somaliland, he joined the main opposition party, Waddani, and became a close confidant of Presidential Candidate Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi ‘Irro’.
Somaliland’s opposition party is said to be sympathetic towards reunion with Somalia. Majority of the party’s senior members have publicly shared their half-hearted views on Somaliland independence and many have served in Somalia’s transitional governments over the years.
Waddani’s Presidential Candidate Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi Irro, served as Somalia’s ambassador to Russia until 1996 – 5 years after the Republic of Somaliland redeclared its independence. He arrived in Somaliland in 2005 to compete in the nation’s first parliamentary elections, and was elected as a MP for Sahil region.
Many political analysts are predicting that Buubaa’s blunder will cause the party to lose votes in November’s Presidential Election.