GAROWE, PUNTLAND — Senior Chinese diplomats are reported to be on their way to Garowe, in a bid to dissuade the Puntland Government from cancelling a contract with Frontier Services Group (FSG). The delegation includes Mr. Wang Changning and Attaché Mr. Shi Haowei, along with another key diplomat, Mr. Chen. Their visit comes amid rising tensions over the management of Garowe Airport by FSG, a company registered in Hong Kong.
The Puntland Government has expressed dissatisfaction with FSG’s management of the airport, citing non-delivery and inadequate development as the main reasons for considering contract termination.
These unfulfilled obligations have sparked controversy and drawn attention to FSG’s ties with the Aran Jaan group, which allegedly receives a share of the company’s profits in Puntland. Aran Jaan’s members include Mohamud Farah Shido, a Somali national with a Kenyan passport, and Hassan Shire, who holds a Swedish passport. Their associate, Khadar Farole, is an Australian passport holder.
The diplomatic mission by the Chinese delegation is seen as a strategic maneuver to protect China’s investment interests in Somalia, where they are notably involved in the fisheries sector. Retaining control over Garowe Airport is viewed as crucial for safeguarding these investments.
The diplomatic mission underscores the high stakes at play in Puntland’s economy, with foreign interests vying for influence over key resources and infrastructure. As the Puntland government faces pressure from various directions, it remains to be seen how it will navigate these complex and politically charged negotiations.
These unfolding events are sure to draw international attention as China’s influence in East Africa and the broader continent continues to grow. The decisions taken now could have long-lasting implications for Puntland’s autonomy and its ability to control and benefit from its own resources