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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Somaliland - Enough is enough and no more paramilitary forces to oppress the freedom of speech

(Medeshi)- By A M Jama MP -  Somaliland has more police Units than any other country on the globe to suppress the opposition and stifle dissent. These Police Units include the notorious RRU nick named  in Somali language Ragga Reeraha U Dhaca (RRU) which literally means in English "men who jump over the fences at night to arrest sleeping families".
RRU is trained and funded by the UK government for counter-terror operations but unfortunately, the Somaliland government is using it to silence the opposition and the free press.

Arbitrary arrest with out court warrant and long detention with out trail at the Criminal Investigation Department centre and police stations is a common practice in Somaliland. Families, friends, lawyers and even Members of Parliament are not allowed to visit political prisoners and jailed journalists as a campaign of psychological warfare against inmates and is widely used by Silanyo’s Police State.

In addition to that, Silanyo’s regime is planning to create another unconstitutional paramilitary force called the OPU ( Oil Protection Unit ) . Under articles 123 & 124 of Somaliland constitution   the creation of just three forces are permissible  namely-  1.The Army, 2.The Police 3. Custodial Corps (Prison Guards) and any other force what ever shape or form is illegal and constitutional. Silanyo’s regime gets millions of US dollars from the so-called oil companies as signature bonuses and Royalties. These intimidatory cowboy oil companies who are not the internationally well known oil companies will be funding and managing the proposed Oil Protection Paramilitary Unit. The OPU will take their orders directly from the executive officers of the oil companies. The OPU will act like the trigger happy Black Water security firm in Iraq and Afghanistan and will shoot first and will ask questions later on.

The Somaliland people have organised themselves to oppose the OPU and issued press releases and declarations informing the oil companies that the Paramilitary force which they are planning to create will meet fierce resistance from tribal forces in every region of Somaliland Republic. They also issued warnings to those companies not to waste their time and money by creating one more oppressive force intended to suppress the opposition and stifle dissent and the media.

As an elected member of Somaliland Parliament, I urge the UK government to review its funding and support to the RRU (Rapid Reaction Unit). I’m also worried about the creation of one more paramilitary force called the OPU (Oil Protection Unit) which will be used to displace entire communities and destabilise the neighbouring countries. The OPU will create instability not only in Somaliland but in the entire region of east Africa.

Enough is enough and no more paramilitary forces to oppress the freedom of speech.

Abdirahman Mohamed Jama (Awxoog) is an elected member of Somaliland Parliament