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China says no plans to build military base in Somalia

Chinese ambassador to Somalia FEI Shengchao has dismissed reports that the Chinese government seeks to build a military base in Somalia.

In a recent interview, the Commander of U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend, said that Somalia and China had discussed plans to build a Chinese military base inside Somalia.

“There are conversations between the Chinese and the Somalis that happen regularly; we’ll just have to see. They’ve discussed many things. They have discussed the base. Somalis tell us they are our partners, and they also want a partnership with the Chinese but not about the base”, the commander said in the interview with VOA.

The Somali government hasn’t yet commented.

However, the ambassador who was speaking to a local media outlet in Mogadishu has described the statement by the commander as “false.”

“China does not want to build a military base in Somalia. We have not discussed that with Somalia. I do not know where this information came from,”said the Chinese ambassador to Mogadishu.

The Chinese government has recently donated nearly $5 million worth of military hardware, including vehicles, to Somalia to assist the country in its fight against terrorism.

During a ceremony on 18 March at the Port of Mogadishu, the Chinese Ambassador, Fei Shengchao, handed over five water bowsers, five fuel trucks, 20 offroad trucks, and five high mobility field ambulances, and 22 metal/mine detectors to the Somalian defense minister Abdikadir Mohamed Nur Jama.

The US-China battle for influence in the Horn of Africa has been widely felt inside Somalia.

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