Building bridges: UNSOM and AMISOM launch Joint Police Patrol training in Gaalkacyo

18 Jul 2017

Building bridges: UNSOM and AMISOM launch Joint Police Patrol training in Gaalkacyo

Gaalkacyo - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) are facilitating a joint training aimed at preparing a group of police officers from Puntland and Galmudug states in carrying out joint patrols in Gaalkacyo, as part of a ceasefire agreement.

The training is taking place under the auspices of the Gaalkacyo Ceasefire Agreement signed on 1 January 2017 by the Puntland and Galmudug State Presidents.

Under the agreement, patrol teams from both states would be trained to help enforce the cessation of hostilities between the two administrations.

“The training aims to promote trust and confidence in Gaalkacyo, [by preparing] a group of selected police officers to establish and implement joint police patrols in Gaalkacyo, under a common command,” explained Christoph Buik, the UNSOM Police Commissioner in Somalia.

Mr. Buik also stated that the joint patrol teams would provide security to the Joint Ceasefire Committee members, while on visits to a buffer zone established between both sides. The trainees will also support ongoing initiatives to restore stability and the rule of law, and also act as focal points for rebuilding confidence and peace in Gaalkacyo.

At least 100 police officers who will oversee the implementation of the Gaalkacyo Ceasefire Agreement are taking part in the inaugural joint training launched at Gaalkacyo Community Centre on Monday.

“We are ready to ensure the implementation of peace in Gaalkacyo,” noted Mohamed Hashi Abdi, the Vice President of Galmudug State. “Somalis, we have to hold each other’s hands, support one another and tell our people that we are one as brothers and sisters,” he added.

Under the Gaalkacyo ceasefire deal, leaders from the two states have also committed to withdraw troops and remove roadblocks, in order to allow free movement of people and goods.

“The joint police patrol is the beginning of the Somali integration process. We don’t want to miss this opportunity,” said Abdihakim Omar Amey, the Vice President of Puntland State, who added that Puntland was committed to spearheading the integration of the whole of Somalia, starting with the implementation of the Gaalkacyo agreement.

Howard Bell, the Head of the UNSOM Office in Puntland, described the Joint Patrol Training as an important step in the implementation of the ceasefire agreement. “I would say that people’s confidence in peace, which has been quite fragile, and remains quite fragile, will start to grow and increase as a result of the implementation of measures like this police training,” Mr. Bell noted.

AMISOM Police will lead in delivering the joint training programme. “We are optimistic therefore that with the right learning environment and support, the joint police patrol training programme is on the right footing,” AMISOM lead trainer, Chief Inspector of Police Prosper Oklu said.

The training will focus on effective patrol strategies, community engagement, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and respect for human rights, among other topics.