Puntland Bans Firearms in Towns

Garowe (PP News Desk) — As the security situation in some cities in Puntland deteriorates, Puntland State Government introduced a new policy to ban firearms in towns. Bosaso, the commercial city, pioneered the ban, with Karkaar following suit.

This is a major security policy that aims to criminalise firearms carried by civilians in towns.  Many people carry concealed handguns concealed, a situation that terrorist groups exploit to carry out targeted assassinations.

President Deni’s administration prefers top-down securitisation approach to the legislature’s role in proposing and enacting security-related policies.

Under the new policy only security forces are allowed to carry forearms. Citizens are allowed to keep their firearms at their properties or business premises.   Random searches conducted by Bari regional administration last month produced startling results. Many civilians carry weapons in their vehicles, making it difficult for security forces to foil Al-shabaab and ISIS plots to destabilise Puntland cities.  No citizen has been charged for carrying firearms. People cited self-defence as the primary reason for carrying concealed guns.

The new ban is fraught with legal ambiguities. There is less clarity on how authorities will distinguish between violators with possible links to terrorist groups and those who still lack confidence in the competence of security forces nipping terrorist plots in the bud.  Region-wide security measures get introduced in Puntland without Parliamentarians or Councillors discussing issues that affect their constituencies.

The disconnect between Puntland legislature and district councils poses governance hurdles for the Federal Member State that will conduct a controversial pilot local elections in three designated districts in 2021.

© Puntland Post, 2021