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Sierra Leone deploys 145 more police officers to Somalia

Somalian soldiers are seen ahead of trainings held by Turkish Armed Forces at Turkish Military Training Centre in Mogadishu, Somalia on January 15, 2018 [Volkan Furuncu / Anadolu Agency]
Somalian soldiers are seen during training in Mogadishu, Somalia on 15 January 2018 [Volkan Furuncu / Anadolu Agency]

Some 145 officers from Sierra Leone’s Formed Police Units (FPU) have been deployed in Somalia’s port city of Kismayo, Garowe Online reported yesterday.

The new batch of officers will join an elite team of 15 which are already in the country as part of the African Union Mission (AMISOM) in Somalia.

“Their coming is going to be a boost to the Jubbaland State Police Force. In 2016, we trained 600 police officers in Jubbaland and the Sierra Leone FPU will help them build and empower their policing operations,” Christine Alalo, AMISOM police commissioner, said.

The additional officers are part of a United Nation Security Council resolution passed in 2017 which pledged to increase police officers serving under the AMISOM to 1,040.

The FPU will focus on protecting government facilities, public order management and support of Somalia’s local police force.

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Somalia has seen some ferocious attacks on civilians in the past; including drive-by shootings at security checkpoints. Last year, a truck bomb attack killed and injured 500. The assailant, though, was not from the insurgency group Al-Shabaab, according to an investigation by the Guardian, but was a former Somali soldier grieved by a US and Somali counter-terror raid on his home village.

Al-Shabaab pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda in 2012, which led to an increase in counter-terror measures levied by the US. Somalia’s security forces executed an operation last month in northern Mogadishu arresting over 100 criminal suspects. The operation was conducted after a Somali soldier was killed at a security checkpoint.

Last week, five people were killed after a bomb exploded during an afternoon local football match in south-western town of Barawe. Allegations were put against Al-Shabaab, but the group has not claimed responsibility.

Somali nationals have also been found to be involved in piracy in international waters. Last month some 120 Somalis were freed after serving up to seven years in jail for piracy related offences. It is unclear if the beefed-up security presence will contribute to mitigating security threats at the port city of Kismayo.

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