Saudi Arabia’s military aircraft and weapons shipments to the Horn of Africa have been confirmed by the International Crime Office of Somalia (ICOS) as part of an investigation into the activities of the country’s powerful Ethiopian military commander General Said Hallego, who was ousted from his post in Somalia by Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed last week.
Mr. Hallego was in charge of the Ethiopian Flotilla, tasked with ferrying arms and military material across the troubled border between Somalia and Ethiopia to support Somali forces fighting Al Shabaab militants.
In a Nov. 30 video statement from an al Shabaab radio station, a spokesman said that Hallego “did not come to the northern border of Somalia but had, rather, moved across the borders to the southern border and, using Ethiopian airplanes, managed to smuggle thousands of small arms, mines, rockets, and other ammunition for Al-Shabaab.”
Three intercepts of government aircraft from Ethiopia were observed to have entered Somalia on Nov. 27 and later confirmed by the ICOS as the source of weapons delivered to Al Shabaab since 2016.
Mr. Hallego was accused of corruption for his involvement in multiple procurement schemes.
For instance, his office submitted several false bids for the procurement of electronics and office equipment for the Ethiopian Armed Forces (EAF) where three smaller companies who entered the bidding process were later terminated, according to local investigators. In a letter sent to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, National Security Council Chairman Hussein Ali Duale said Mr. Hallego would face charges including “the misuse of public money, accepting bribe from companies, and granting multiple licenses and first authorization for licenses that lead to corruption.”