Puntland Security Reform is Long Overdue

Puntland Post, our sister news website, reports that President Said Abdullahi Deni of Puntland State had managed to persuade UAE authorities to renew funding  for  Puntland Maritime Police Force.  An influential politico-business clique has been eying the new contract. The clique’s interest sparked deployment of troops in Bosaso, the commercial city of Puntland.  

Puntland Government responded to the unauthorised deployment by sending troops to Bosaso. Elders intervened to avoid a clash between the two Puntland forces. As if that was not enough, Puntland Forces in cahoots with clan militias stormed a Galka’yo courthouse to release men who were convicted of contraband alcohol.  Commander   of North Mudug Police Division Colonel Jama Mohammed Ahmed told Puntland Post the police arrested one of the attackers but the two convicts “are still at large”.

Puntland forces are organised along subclan lines. They are territorial — each sector wields influence in the area it controls. Puntland Development Plan 2017-2019  notes “the security sector [of Puntland State]  includes core security actors such as (Puntland Police Force (PPF) , Puntland Security Force (PSF), Puntland Security Service/ PSS, Puntland Intelligence Agency (PIA) and Puntland Marine Police Force (PMPF).”

 Puntland is a Federal Member State but its forces do not come under the command of the Commander of the Somali National Army.  Puntland has denied its forces training opportunities from which different sectors of the Somali National Army benefit. Attempts to introduce biometric system to root out corruption in the Puntland security sector has not succeeded. 

The Development Plan does not lay the emphasis on professionalising Puntland forces. This reticence over pressing institutional failures reflects recurrence of mutinies that may plunge Puntland into widespread lawlessness

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