The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia and Head of AMISOM Ambassador Maman Sidikou on 30th September 2015 held a meeting with members of the Somali-American Police Association in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A, where they discussed capacity building of the Somali Police Force, including partnerships that will help Somalia counter radicalization.
Ambassador Sidikou who is meeting with different groups of Somalis in the diaspora, asked Somalis living outside the country to help in building positive values back home.
The AU Special Representative particularly appealed to the Somali-American Police Association, to help the Somali government improve the level of understanding of policing, especially in areas where there is a breakdown of law and order.
Ambassador Sidikou noted that police were better placed to deal with civilians, as opposed to the military.
He said the Somali police force, like the military, has some constraints, which include lack of training in critical areas, and lack of equipment. He challenged the Somali- American police to offer their expertise to Somalia and help change the destiny of the country.
“I would like to invite you not to hesitate to see how you can help. Be in touch with us as closely as possible with our police component to see how you could support. Because we know how experienced you are and at the end of the day, it’s not for us to decide for Somalis but it’s for Somalis to learn by way of experience on the way to go,” he emphasized.
The SRCC added that in the restructuring that is ongoing at AMISOM, the police within the Mission would have a greater role to play, in areas that have been liberated by the military.
He said, “Reconfiguration we have in mind as places are freed or liberated, and gradually police take over. It’s not the role of military with guns to deal with the rule of law including just educating people to be their own police because unless we go for community policing I am not sure we’ll make in-roads with citizens in terms of stabilization of the place”.
Ambassador Sidikou added, “AMISOM is supporting the Somali National Army, also with the construction of police stations in the regions, because even if you liberate, its an empty place. There’s no office to sit in, there’s no place for people to put small arms. They all have to relate to authority. A police station is one place to play a critical role in that.”
In his remarks, the chairman of the Somali-American Police Association Sergeant Siraach Weihid, expressed satisfaction with the role AMISOM in strengthening and rebuilding the Somali National Police.
“I am very pleased and happy with what AMISOM has committed in rebuilding and strengthening the Somali National police. As police officers we know that peace starts with police. Military have certain goals and tasks once they achieve that is done. In order to have lasting peace you need to have functioning police department. You also need to have Attorney General’s office and a functioning justice system,”said Siraach.
A total of 540 police officers who are part of AMISOM are in Somalia to help build the capacity of the Somali Police Force.