Somalia bewilderingly boots out a duo of European Union employees with a sudden burst of surprise

On Thursday May 18, 2023, a stunning and perplexing statement was broadcasted on Somali National Television regarding the expulsion of two European Union employees accused of illegally taking photos of prisoners at a detention center. The EU-funded Maritime Police Unit in Mogadishu was the location of this controversial act. The Somali government was forced to take drastic measures due to the sheer violation of the laws and rules of the country. Jacek Jozef Ochman of Poland and Ralf Bernhard Gehlig of Germany were the two workers that have been forced out of the country after violating Somalia’s regulations. Furthermore, the two have been accused of interfering in the internal affairs of Somalia, leading to even more intense repercussions.

In a confidential letter obtained exclusively by VOA Somali, Attorney General Sulayman Mohamed Mohamud called for the removal of the two EU employees from Somalia. Ochman and Gehlig secretly took pictures of prisoners at a detention center belonging to the Somali maritime police at Mogadishu’s airport on April 30, seeking to tarnish the reputation and dignity of Somalia. The action to take the photos secretly violated the Somali penal code, which led to their expulsion.

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According to multiple sources, the expulsions and the detention of Iranian boats and 36 fishermen accused of illegal fishing in Somali waters are supposedly linked. The fishermen are mostly of Iranian nationality, which gives rise to speculations of a possible connection between the two events.

Illegal fishing has posed a “significant threat” to Somalia’s fishing stock, food security, and marine ecology, according to the Somali Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources. The ministry urged all foreign vessels fishing illegally in Somalia’s exclusive economic zone to leave, although it did not identify which countries the vessels belonged to.

After the incident, VOA Somali reached out to EU mission in Somalia and the attorney general, but no response has been provided. However, what remains certain is that the actions of Ochman and Gehlig were not only illegal but also highly perplexing, leaving many to wonder what led to this occurrence.

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