Nothing, not even all the negative news media coverage about Somalia, prepares you enough for the shocking reality of devastation brought unto the nation that occupies the horn of Africa. There are visible signs of gunshots and perhaps, grenade attacks all over the walls of most of the government-owned buildings – the national stadium is now a pale shadow of itself.
In the central business district, trading goes on. There’s the usual hustle and bustle that major African cities are noted for. Across the Karaan market, stands a police station. For more than 2 decades Somalia almost became a failed state, having no efficient police service, a non-functional judiciary, a displaced constitution and a constantly terrorised citizenry. The sight of a functional police station gives the citizens a fresh breath of hope. The African Union Mission (AMISOM) has since 2007 been helping to re-establish peace and order in the country. AMISOM police-contributing countries, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Uganda, and Kenya have been training and mentoring officers and men of the Somali Police Force on internationally accepted police standards.
In less than 30 minutes, two suspects are brought in. The AMISOM police officers assist the SPF to prepare documents for the suspects, making sure the suspects’ human rights are not violated – a crucial lesson that SP Freeman Tettey PRO of the AMISOM police insists must be applied at all times and to all suspects.
In the last 11 years, and in the face of deadly attacks from the terrorist group, Al-shabab, AMISOM has managed to claw back many parts of Somalia from the control of the terrorists. But gaining back territory alone is not enough. More has to be done in order to sustain it, maintain it and establish rule and order in it. That responsibility falls on the shoulders of The AMISOM police. They are responsible for training and mentoring the local Somali policemen and women to take up this responsibility. More than 180 policemen and women from six African countries have spent months in war-ravaged Somalia, helping to put the SPF back in charge of internal security.
The acting AMISOM Police commissioner, Christine Alalo says so far, AMISOM has taken control of many parts of Somalia and has handed over such places to the SPF after they had been trained, mentored and equipped with the appropriate resources needed for effective policing.
The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission for Somalia and head of AMISOM, H.E Ambassador Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira describes AMISOM’s activities in Somalia as a progressive journey. “ On the political scene, AMISOM has created an increasingly more secure environment, enabling significant progress in the political development of the country. Today, Somalia has a national constitution, an elected Parliament, and President, federal states, all with leadership and functional legislative bodies”.