Qatar and Somalia have both denied a news report in the New York Times (NYT) which alleges that Doha was involved in a bombing carried out in northern Somalia by a local armed group in May.
According to the NYT report, it had obtained an audio recording from a foreign intelligence agency involving a Qatari businessman working in Somalia.
In the recorded conservation it is suggested that the bombers attacked the Somali city of Bosaso “to advance Qatar’s interests by driving out its rival, the United Arab Emirates (UAE)”.
Doha denied the report before explaining it had not been provided with the recording despite requesting this.
“The state of Qatar’s foreign policy has always been one of creating stability and prosperity – we do not meddle in the internal affairs of sovereign countries. Anybody doing so is not acting on behalf of our government,” it said in a statement.
Doha’s denial was supported by Somali Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad.
“The Qatari government released a statement that they shared with us in which they denied the claim. And we are satisfied with it,” Awad told Voice of America’s Somali service on Tuesday.
At least 10 people were injured in the May 10 attack in downtown Bosaso with a local affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) claiming responsibility for the bombing.
A foreign intelligence agency opposed to Qatar’s foreign policy was reported to have provided the recording to the NYT.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Bahrain imposed a land, sea, and air blockade on Qatar in June 2017 after disagreeing with Doha’s foreign policy.
There have been subsequent rumours of a dirty tricks campaign against Qatar by their Gulf enemies as the UAE moves to establish its influence in the Horn of Africa.
The Emiratis have established a ring of more than half a dozen commercial ports or military bases around the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa, including a major military base at Assab, Eritrea, that was used to launch operations into Yemen where the UAE and the Saudis are fighting a war against the Houthis.
– African News Agency