Somali Police Force marks 74th anniversary of its founding, remembers fallen officers
Mogadishu – The Somali Police Force (SPF) today marked the 74th anniversary of its founding in a ceremony held at the same location where a suicide bomber killed more than a dozen of the force’s members just six days ago.
The bomber, disguised as a policeman, killed the officers at the country’s main police academy, in the capital city, Mogadishu, as they rehearsed for today’s celebrations last Thursday. According to reports, at least 17 police officers were killed and another 15 were wounded.
Speaking on the sidelines of today’s event, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire paid tribute to the fallen police and promised government assistance to their bereaved families.
“We cannot forget the 17 who were killed and those who were wounded in that incident,” said the Prime Minister. “Since 1943, (the police) have been serving the Somali people and given their lives for us.”
Those attending today’s ceremony included the federal Minister of Internal Security, Mohamed Abukar Islow, senior SPF officers led by the acting Police Commissioner, General Muktar Husen Afrah, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Michael Keating, and representatives of the diplomatic corps.
Mr. Keating congratulated the SPF on the occasion of its anniversary and urged the country’s federal and state governments to increase their cooperation on security issues and harmonize their policing strategies.
The United Nations and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have actively supported a new policing model that was introduced in 2016 and seeks to reorganize the country’s law enforcement bodies along federal lines.
“I believe this is a significant day because the Somali police is being reconstituted,” said Mr. Keating, who also heads the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). “The challenge there is that the federal government and the Somali police have to make sure that all this support is coherent. What we need is one doctrine, one procurement system and one way of doing things.”
Today’s ceremony included a demonstration of bomb detonation techniques by specially-trained SPF officers with the assistance of explosives-detecting dogs.