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Rivalry between security forces a threat to national stability

Storyline:Archive, Opinions
Somali forces take positions as they exchange fire with their colleagues July 26, 2017 in the city centre, Mogadishu. Photo: Harun Maruf

By Dr. Abdirizak Ali

Just when you thought Somalia is coming out of the quagmire that has engulfed it for more than a quarter of century, and the economy is recovering, the diaspora is streaming in, and the country is taking it is rightful place in the international community, sad news filter in.

This time it’s amongst the armed forces, who are supposed to be a symbol unity in a community characterized by many in the world, including its external enemies as factional, amongst other obnoxious adjectives.

On 27 July 28, 2017, in a shootout in front of the presidential compound, six NISA agents were killed in cold blood, amongst the dead was the second in command of NISA, Abdurrahman Jijile, and, as expected, condemnation followed.

The commander of NISA, Abdullahi Mohammed Ali, speaking to local news outlets, in a strongly worded statement, said all those who were involved would be apprehended, an urgent investigation will be instituted, and action will be taken against those found culpable.

The minister of defense, on his part, said,” this was not a planned operation and, if it was it would have continued till now, and those who wish this continues, we say,  it will not because this is a single  Somali force busy on maintaining security”.

However, as pointed out by Harun Maruf, a Somali journalist working for VOA on Twitter, this is not the first time the government has said it will carry out investigations, while no report had been made public ever. “Can’t remember last time a Somali govt published results of an investigation, there were many incidents. Stand corrected if you prove me wrong.”

Ominously, the public seem to be becoming impatient with the slow response from government agencies, rampant indiscipline amongst the disparate forces, carrying out a demonstration drawing hundreds of relatives of the slain soldiers.

While it is true Somalia is recovering from a long period of heart-wrenching violence, lawlessness and brutal militias controlling various parts of the country, government soldiers, by now, should adhere to the basic discipline of uniformed men and women.

Goobjoog News, a local news outlet, had reported that these two agencies had longstanding simmering tension and the wounds of previous confrontations have been left to fester. In that case, we don’t have an army, but conglomeration of tribal militias still haunted by longstanding hostilities, and as a result, the urge to revenge appears to be outweighing nationhood and brotherhood.

For us to make remarkable progress, for us to return to our glorious moments in 1970s and 80s,the recently agreed Security Pact should be urgently implemented immediately, security forces should be trained on patriotism, tribal militants, starting with Mogadishu, should be disarmed and the report on internal investigations implemented.

The writer is a medical doctor and analyst

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