With elections drawing close, the Commissioner of the Somali Police Force (SPF), Gen. Abdi Hassan Mohamed, on Tuesday met with Ambassador Francisco Madeira, the Head of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), to discuss ways and strategies to provide adequate security for Somalia’s upcoming one-person-one-vote elections.
At a meeting held in Mogadishu and attended by senior AMISOM and SPF personnel, Gen. Abdi gave an update on the newly formed Election Security Task Force and how AMISOM could support the taskforce by providing security for both the parliamentary and presidential elections, expected to be held in 2020/2021.
In detailing the preparations so far made Gen. Abdi told the meeting that while a lot still needed to be done, tremendous progress had been made by the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), working together with international partners, to enhance the security of Mogadishu, other cities and villages across the country.
The SPF chief, who was accompanied by the SPF Deputy Police Commissioner, Brigadier General Zakia Hussein Ahmed and other senior officers, said that there was need to identify locations where the elections will take place, the number of people who will take part in the elections and also to train extra police to help secure the elections.
“The ministry of internal security has already nominated a number of commissioners at the regional and federal level to come together but what we need is to decentralize from the headquarters down to the regions and every village where the elections will take place.”
In response, Ambassador Madeira emphasized the need for AMISOM and the SPF to work closely together in order to not only secure the elections but also enhance security all across so that the Somali people can go about their lives normally.
“What we need is to see how these small incidents (of attacks by militants) which are still taking place can also be put under control,” Ambassador Madeira said.
“We need to look at a number of issues ranging from the resources that are available, how we can secure the elections, especially drawing from our past experience and then the critical issue of identifying areas where the elections are going to take place”.
AMISOM also offered to provide strategic communication support to the Election Security Taskforce. This is to assure and deepen public confidence on security preparations ahead, during and after the elections.
Senior AMISOM officials present at the meeting included the new AMISOM Police Commissioner, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Augustine Magnus Kailie; Lt. Gen. Osman Noor Soubagleh, who is Ambassador Madeira’s Special Advisor on Military Affairs; Maj. Gen. Fidza Dludlu, the AMISOM Head of Mission Support; Babatunde Taiwo, the AMISOM Head of Political Affairs and Rex Dundun, AMISOM Police Chief of Staff.