Somalia: Puntland army general discusses security during 2014 elections
The top army general in Puntland government in northern Somalia Gen. Said Mohamed Hersi (Gen. Said Dheere) told a Thursday press conference that Puntland government forces will be in charge of security, Garowe Online reports.
Gen. Said Dheere said: “I have held this press conference to brief the Puntland public about the security plan. I wish to address four key issues: security forces during the elections process; the presidential candidates and their role; the public’s role; and good conduct during the elections process”.
Gen. Said Dheere is the top commander of the Puntland Defense Force. Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole nominated Gen. Said Dheere as head of operations for security during the 2014 Puntland elections, a move welcomed by rival presidential candidates.
“As we do our task, we pray to Allah to help us and guide us on the right path, and to ease our duty. The Puntland people want a satisfactory election process and we all want a smooth election process and we must be patience in our endeavor,” said Gen. Said Dheere.
Speaking about Puntland security forces, Gen. Said Dheere said Puntland troops are in charge of security at the election hall, the capital city of Garowe and its surroundings, and the whole of Puntland.
“Puntland troops will be charged with security for election candidates and during welcome ceremonies for candidates arriving in Garowe. We have prepared detailed plans for the security of candidates. Puntland troops will avoid committing any abuses at all times,” said Gen. Said Dheere.
“The security of the capital city of Garowe is a special case. All candidates are welcome to bring their own personal bodyguards, but no armed trucks will be allowed in Garowe,” said Gen. Said Dheere, adding: “If a candidate wants extra security, Puntland troops are ready to provide additional security at any time, but there must be working relations between Puntland troops and each candidate’s secretary and head of security”.
Puntland’s top army commander encouraged all election candidates and the public to cooperate with government forces at all times.
Puntland is slated to finalize a parliamentary selection process this month and vote to elect a new president and vice president on January 8, 1998.
Located in northeastern Somalia, Puntland declared autonomy in 1998 under a federal model of national government. On August 5, 2013, however, Puntland’s government suspended all relations and cooperation with the Federal Government in Mogadishu in a dispute over the federal constitution, lack of political consultation and fair sharing of foreign aid to Somalia.
Puntland has held three presidential elections in 1998, 2005 and 2009. Over a 12 candidates are competing for Puntland president, including the incumbent President Farole and former TFG Prime Minister Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas.