Djibouti has said one of its soldiers, Fuad Ali who is currently in detention attempted to steal a military aircraft with the intent of destroying it and also had links with Eritrea. Djibouti and Eritrea maintain unresolved border dispute.
According to a statement from the Presidency, the State Prosecutor is investigating Ali over alleged offences committed in March this year. The probe, the Presidency said cover in addition to ‘publishing violent statements in the press inciting hatred and public uprising, jeorpadising national defence by urging the military to commit acts of disobedience and publicly defaming Djibouti’s Armed Forces.
Ali’s arrest and detention have sparked protests in a number of cities in Djibouti. The situation was further exacerbated by separate videos released by Ali and his wife Samira which claim torture, mistreatment and marginalization.
According to Samira, Ali had faced discrimination and went without salary forcing him to flee to Ethiopia. In the video, Samira claims Ali was arrested by Ethiopian intelligence and handed over to the Djibouti government.
Dismissing Ali’s claims (in a video) that he was tortured in his cell, the government said, on the contrary, the conditions set in the video were ‘obviously stage-managed’.
Reports of the military pilot led to demonstrations in at least three cities including the capital Djibouti.
The government said the protesters set a bank on fire and shot one of its employees during an attempted robbery.
The presidency has also linked Ali’s protest to opposition groups. “Clearly, as the defendant himself points out, this is case of political manipulation linked to opposition circles with little regard for the proper functioning of democracy and whose ultimate goal is to undermine Djibouti’s unity and national cohesion.’