SOMALILAND: Security boosted as British Intel officers Arrive
HARGEISA (Somalilandpress) — Extra police were put on duty on Friday and Saturday in the capital as the head of the intelligence organisation returned from neighbouring Ethiopia.
Security patrols around Egal International Airport and government departments was boosted as the head of Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Mr Mohamed Nur and his deputy Mr Mohamed Ali returned back from Addis Ababa.
According to Waaheen Newspaper, the two officers were also accompanied by a senior delegation from the British intelligence.
Mr Nur and his deputy are believed to have received special security and counter terrorism training in Addis Ababa by elite British and Ethiopian officers.
The source added the British officers were inspecting a new facility in Hargeisa for the British Secret Intelligence Service or MI6 that has recently been completed. The new department is designed to monitor the movement of Somalia’s terrorist group al-Shabab.
The British officers have also met with the President Elect, Mr Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo on Saturday in Ambassador Hotel. It is unclear what the two sides discussed but their meetings was followed by another session between the President Elect and the British deputy Ambassador to Ethiopia, Mr John Marshall. The embassy maintains a full range of bilateral relations with Hargeisa through frequent visits by embassy staff.
Mr Marshall and Silanyo discussed the Presidential power transfer and security in the region. At the invitation of the government, Mr Marshall will attend the Presidential Power Transfer Ceremony on July 27.
The British consider Somaliland vital to it’s own security. During a question session in the British Parliament, the British Prime Minister, Mr Cameron said UK was engaged with Somaliland and was ready to prevent terrorism from “establishing a foothold” in the region.
“The right hon. Gentleman is right to raise this important issue concerning an area of the world of enormous importance for our own security,” he said.
Mr Cameron welcomed the election in the country on June 26 and promised to engage with the new government.
As well as providing funds for elections and supervision, the UK also provides funds for Somaliland’s security forces and directly trains the Special Protection Unit (SPU), a diplomatic security unit assigned for the protection of government ministers.
According to the British Embassy in Addis Ababa, their mission is to train the unit to provide security escorts and dignitary protection to visiting dignitaries, corporate executives and VIP’s. They believe by improving the security, the country will have more direct contact with the rest of the world by making international visitors possible.
Somaliland was a British protectorate for 80 years before it voluntarily united with Somalia to form what was then known as the Somali Democratic Republic. It restored it’s sovereignty in 1991 after a bloody war with Somalia’s dictator gen. Mohamed Siad Bare and is not recognised internationally as an independent state despite having it’s own government, policy, democratic institutions and currency.
Somalilandpress | Sunday, 18 July 2010
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