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Somaliland: British Aid Holds Terrorists & Pirates at Bay



Mogadishu Saturday 12 February 2011 SMC


“This is not just aid from Britain; it is aid for Britain too. Our aid to Somalia [Somaliland] is helping to make Britain safer, because conflict doesn't just claim innocent lives in Somalia [Somaliland]; it also leads to international problems like piracy, migration and terrorism. None of these will be solved without tackling their root causes: ongoing instability and extreme poverty.”— U.K.’s International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell.

When Somaliland’s top police chief, Elmi Furreh, told THE SUN, “Pirates to the left of me...terrorists to the right” he was not kidding. Located in the midst of a volatile region and sandwiched between a pirate-infested Puntland of Somalia and a terrorist heaven of southern Somalia, Somaliland spent most of its budget on combating terrorists, pirates, and human traffickers for two decades. Although Somaliland with its meager resources maintained its security with very little help from the International community, after Somaliland’s successful presidential elections many nations including Britain decided to contribute to Somaliland’s stability and democracy. And unlike Somalia where in 2008 British taxpayers’ money funded Somali police force that terrorized civilians, British aid to Somaliland not only helps the poor but also keeps terrorists and pirates at bay.

Despite piracy ravaging Somalia’s territorial waters unabated for two decades, Somaliland with its small navy apprehended and prosecuted many pirates that trespassed into its territorial waters. Partially, Somaliland’s anti-piracy success is due to British government’s willingness to help Somaliland’s coastguards and provide coastal radars to track the pirates. As of December 2010, 638 seafarers and 28 ships remain in pirates’ hands; the majority are held in Puntland region; the rest, in southern Somalia. On the other hand, Somaliland holds 64 pirates in jail. Never have pirates succeeded to hijack a ship sailing in Somaliland’s waters, nor launched attacks from its shores. Without Britain’s help, doubtlessly, pirates would have had much better luck in Somaliland.
 
Now, just like pirates, terrorists pose equal threat to Somaliland’s stability. Not a month goes by that Somaliland security forces don’t snatch terrorists from their hide outs. Ever since, terrorists killed British school teachers in Somaliland and a number of foreign nationals, Somaliland created Special Police Unit (SPU) taskforce. Thanks to British aid; the SPU taskforce successfully repelled attacks against U.N. and aid agencies workers. Also, in conjunction with the Somaliland’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID), the SPU thwarts Somaliland from terrorist attacks.  In January 2011, ten-terror suspects, from Mogadishu, were apprehended in Somaliland. At least two of the suspects were reported to have British passports. Also, the locals reported to have seen Caucasian men in military uniforms and Somaliland security forces storming the house where the suspects lived, in Buroa, Somaliland’s second largest city. It was believed that the British anti-terrorist units were part of the forces that raided the safe house.

Unambiguously, the British aid to Somaliland provides training for the SPU, coastguards, and local police. Aid also reaches some of the disadvantaged communities through U.N. agencies.  A recently published WikiLeaks document states, “The UK is funding this training program to the Somaliland Special Protection Unit (SPU), a branch of the police force, at the level of GBP 375,000 (USD 600,000) in the current fiscal year and GBP 230,000 (USD 368,000) in the next. The UK Ministry of Defense (MOD) personnel will focus the training on 450 police officers and will implement the training in three phases. Phase one, beginning in March 2010, will train approximately 40 officers in Ethiopia for five weeks.”

British aid, however, does not associate with, help, or arm Somaliland armed forces. For instance, Somaliland armed forces combating against American and Canadian warlords in the small town of Buhodle don’t receive a drop of British aid. Some detractors and self-nominated spokespersons for the Al-Shabab affiliated violent group, known as PSS (SSC/NSUM) led by Suleman Essa Ahmed, a Somali-American from Columbus, Ohio, and Col. Ali Sabarey, a Somali-Canadian from Toronto, accuse Britain of fueling clan warfare. Well, anthropologists will tell you that the oldest Somali caveman they found his skeleton died in clan warfare, few thousands years ago. So, the notion that British aid is fueling a conflict between sub-clans in Somaliland is absurd. Somali clan conflicts ignite on their own —without any aid— just as wildfires do. To the contrary, the conflict is not fueled by British aid, but by a different kind of “aid” from the Diaspora community that hail from Buhodle area. And that is, the lucrative-clan-war industry. Also, Puntland’s tireless effort to destabilize Somaliland is the second factor that incites violence in Buhodle.

Additionally, Somaliland army battled for two decades terrorists, pirates, and warmongers wanted to create clan fiefdoms without any military aid and will continue to do so. Furthermore, detractors should know better that the British aid to Somaliland has no connection, whatsoever, to the traditional Somali clan skirmishes, usually, over pastures and water reservoirs. Nor is British aid helping Somaliland to disarm the violent Al-Shabab-affiliated PSS (SSC/NSUM) led by the American and the Canadian warmongers, in Buhodle area.

Clearly, the British aid focuses on local developments, training SPU taskforce, police forces, and coastguards. Evidently, if it was not British aid, terrorists and pirates could have claimed successes in Somaliland. And as the U.K.’s International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell said British aid to Somaliland is keeping British people safer. Equally important, British aid is keeping British nationals and U.N. workers in Somaliland safer because of the SPU taskforce funded by Britain. Better yet, unlike Somalia, a no-go country, British officials visit Somaliland to see how their aid is making a difference.

Dalmar Kaahin
dalmar_k@yahoo.com



Somaliweyn Media Center (SMC)

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