Ethiopian Navy to Establish Naval Facility in Somaliland.

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The recently revived Ethiopian Navy is preparing to establish a naval facility in Somaliland, following an agreement with the government. The Navy has identified the land chosen by the government as one of the potential locations for a future operational base in the area.

Rear Admiral Nassir Abadi, the Deputy Chief of the Navy, stated during a recent visit by the Peace and Foreign Affairs Standing Committee to the Naval Force Headquarters that the agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland is one of the responses the Naval Force had requested regarding naval bases along the coast. He also mentioned that they anticipate further responses.

Another senior officer stated, “Through different missions, we have proven ourselves capable of carrying out operations effectively. We view the current lease agreement as a positive step towards engaging in international operations.” He further explained that former naval officers have been involved in various responsibilities throughout the reform process.

The Ethiopian navy, one of the most renowned naval forces on the continent, was disbanded in the early 1990s when the Derg regime fell and Ethiopia lost its coastline due to Eritrea’s secession. However, the restoration of the naval force was one of the initial initiatives undertaken by the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed when he assumed office in early 2018.

Over the last five years, the Naval Force has been formally reestablished with the assistance of friendly nations, with efforts focused on organizing the military subdivision and training officers. Naval Force officials have stated that the navy has been well-organized in recent years, with ongoing efforts for further expansion. They also mentioned that the navy has been involved in on-ground activities, such as participating in life-saving operations in the Somali region during recent flooding incidents.

The Naval Force is currently providing training for its officers abroad, and plans are underway to establish a naval training facility in Bishoftu, a naval academy in Bahir Dar, and other locations. The construction of the naval headquarters in the Marsh/Musiqegna Camp area, located between Minilik Hospital and Jan-Meda, is also being prepared. The current headquarters is temporarily located at the former Ministry of Defense headquarters near the National Theater in the city center.

Five years ago, the Naval Force conducted a comprehensive study to identify suitable coastal regions for the future naval base. The study suggested several potential sites in the surrounding area, and naval officers confirmed during the recent tour and discussion that they are ready to proceed with the development of the facility in Somaliland.

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