UNSOM Police Commissioner visits Gaalkacyo
UNSOM Police Commissioner Christoph Buik and the German Deputy Ambassador to Somalia Markus Bollmohr visited the disputed city of Gaalkacyo on 21 March to assess the implementation of a ceasefire agreement concluded by the President of Puntland state Abdiweli Mohamed Ali “Gaas” and the then President of Galmudug state Abdikarim Hussein Guled in November of last year.
The delegation visited the northern and southern districts of Gaalkacyo, which are administered by the Puntland and Galmudug administrations respectively, and met with governors, mayors and regional police commissioners. Puntland and Galmudug officials welcomed the support provided by UNSOM to the Gaalkacyo Ceasefire Team Advisory Group, which is led by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development.
Delegation members and Puntland and Galmudug officials noted the crucial role that joint patrols consisting of security service personnel from both state governments can play in upholding the ceasefire. Fighting between security forces of the two states killed dozens of people in October 2016 and displaced tens of thousands of residents.
“I anticipate that the future joint police patrols will facilitate the withdrawal of troops from Gaalkacyo, the dismantling of road blocks, and improve the free passage of humanitarian supplies between both districts of the city,” said Police Commissioner Buik. “The patrols will also contribute to increased social and business contacts among residents of Gaalkacyo and support the fight against al-Shabaab militants.”
To ensure continued enforcement of the ceasefire, officials from the two local Gaalkacyo administrations asked for an expansion of the planned training courses for Galmudug and Puntland police officers and an increase in the number of participants to 200 police officers. They also requested the provision of stipends, vehicles and equipment for police officers participating in the joint patrols and assistance for the establishment of a police station for use by joint police patrol members.
Police Commissioner Buik and Deputy Ambassador Bollmohr acknowledged the limited resources available to the local administrations in Gaalkacyo during their visit. They also noted that the introduction of Somalia’s New Policing Model would improve the long-term financial sustainability of policing activities throughout the country.
Discussions also focused on the current drought crisis, and local government officials called on international partners to provide urgent relief aid. UNSOM Police Commissioner Buik reminded regional police commissioners of their responsibility to protect civilians and underscored the importance of allowing humanitarian aid agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross to pass through roadblocks unimpeded.
Officials of both local Gaalkacyo administrations agreed to take steps that would guarantee the free passage of humanitarian assistance.