Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Vote of confidence for Somalia security forces.

I have reported on Somalia since 2005 covering fighting, elections and peaceful spells but I must admit I have never been impressed by the zeal and genuine patriotism of the Somalia police, military and intelligence officers like their recent display during the IGAD ministerial summit in Mogadishu.

Understandably, Mogadishu was closed down for this important meeting because it was the first of such high level meeting by IGAD in 28 years. Ordinary people were somehow affected but many of those I met in the streets on the day were generally happy saying such important conferences are a sign of good things to come.

My crew and I were kept at a checkpoint for 2 hours a few meters from the SYL hotel where the conference took place despite having all relevant documentation and our press badges. They told us they were ordered never to let anyone through and politely asked us to call their superiors.

After hours of calling and begging, we were finally allowed after a Somalia paramilitary police captain clad in black uniforms, never seen before, and an AMISOM captain were dispatched by the office of the President to fetch us.
We had to weave through several checkpoints, which we also had to introduce ourselves even though we were accompanied by senior officers from Somalia and AMISOM.

Finally we were allowed into the premises one hour and a half after the conference had started and we went ahead to cover the historic meeting which will go into history books as a major milestone for Somalia.

As the IGAD Foreign Affairs ministers were busy deliberating in the meeting, which was opened by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia and closed by Prime Minister Abdirashid Omar Sharmarke, outside and within the SYL hotel, Somalia security forces and their AMISOM counterparts were busy moving around questioning anyone they came across all in the spirit of making the meeting a success.

The special forces from the police who were wearing black stood out from the rest as they paced up and down in their masked faces revealing hawk eyes , even when it was so hot in the mid-day Mogadishu sun or even when the guests were having lunch, they swiftly paced around simply to make sure nothing went wrong.

It is my sincere hope that the Somalia security forces – police, military and the Intelligence officers – will continue with such zeal as the country continues to slowly make inroads towards peace and development.
Lest I forget, the Somalia fire fighters should also be lauded for their presence in the conference to prevent any fire disasters even though nothing happened.

I salute them all and hope they will keep up the good job of protecting the country and its citizens, from the small and the big, the poor and the rich alike without fear or favour.