This week, the former Prime minister of Somalia, Abdiweli Ali Gaas has called on the Puntland authorities not oppress the people and the media, reports Horseed Media.
Abdiweli also called the regime of Abdirahman Farole not to delay the Presidential elections in January 2013.
“…During my visit to the major towns and cities in Puntland, I had the opportunity to meet with the people of Puntland, including elders, politicians, the civil society and the youth… the people that I have met with, have informed me and I have also witnessed myself, that there are many social and political challenges in Puntland…” says Prof,Abdiweli during a press conference in Galkacyo, yesterday.
He added “…Today there is no freedom of expression in Puntland, in every democracy there must be a freedom of expression that is the basic rights of the people…”
The former Prime minister, who hails from Puntland, has called on the people of Puntland to safeguard their security and stability.
He says the civil society in Puntland are not allowed to voice their concerns or organize political gatherings, while the media is routinely harassed and can’t freely report about the facts on the ground.
Last month the Puntland government shutdown Horseed FM an independent radio station in Bosaso.
In his press statement the former Prime minister called on the Puntland elders to convene in a national conference in order to protect and restore the unity of Puntland State of Somalia.
The statement of the former Prime minister comes just weeks after major clans in Puntland refused the government’s plans to postpone the Presidential election in January 2013.
The people want the democratization process in Puntland, but the current political environment in Puntland is everything but democratic, says Prof. Abdiweli, he advised the Puntland government to serve their remaining term of two months peacefully.
Abdiweli Ali Gaas, has warned the government of Abdirahman Farole (an Australian citizen) not to create instability in the region.
Abdiweli Ali Gaas who is now a MP of the Somalia’s Federal Parliament, refused to comment on the reports that the Puntland President’s son Mohamed Farole has sent forces trained by Saracen to surround his residence, during his visit in Bosaso the commercial capital of Puntland.
Last week, hundreds of the Puntland’s Maritime Police Force surrounded the villa Mr.Gaas was staying in Bosaso city, completely blocking all the roads leading to the residence. These forces are trained by a company called Sterling Corporate Services also known as Saracen.
The forces later abandoned their positions after local residents and armed militias supporting the former Prime minister gathered near his home in Bosaso.
Recently, the Controversial South African private military operator Sterling Corporate Services, aka Saracen International, has lost its anti-piracy contract in the semi-autonomous Somali region of Puntland.
The termination comes in the midst of strenuous criticism by the UN’s Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) of SCS’s handling of its United Arab Emirates-funded contract to train a paramilitary Puntland Maritime Police Force.
In July, the SEMG published a 350-page report on the security situation in Somalia, sharply critical of the actions of Sterling and the maritime police under its control.
The report highlighted several incidents where Sterling operators – whose nominal brief was confined to training and advising the maritime police force – were involved in military actions against Faroole’s enemies.
Also noted were documented tortures and other incidents of human rights abuse allegedly perpetrated under the command of the mainly South African Sterling corps.
On this basis, the monitoring group called for strong action by the UN Security Council.
Notably, it wanted Sterling/Saracen “designated” along with other companies and individuals in the opaque network connected to the Puntland operation, and subjected to “targeted measures”.
Yet, Saracen continues to operate in Puntland, the company’s assets which includes light airplanes, helicopters and armored vehicles are still stationed at their military camp near Bosaso Airport.
– HORSEED MEDIA, BOSASO