African Express Airways (XU, Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta) as well as Jubba Airways (Kenya) (3J, Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta) and other carriers plying flights between Mogadishu and Hargeisa, the capital of the autonomous Somaliland region in northwestern Somalia, have been ordered to suspend their respective operations with effect from February 22.

The head of Somalia's Department of Immigration and Naturalization, Abdullahi Gafow Mohamud, said in a directive that the move was in response to Somaliland Minister of Interior Ali Waranadde's recent announcement that all non-Somalilanders living in the breakaway region are now required to have visas and work permits to stay or face deportation.

Hargeisa's relationship with Mogadishu has been strained since the region declared independence in 1991. But, while Somaliland has gone on to enjoy relative peace and stability in contrast to the rest of the country, no foreign nation has yet granted it formal recognition.